Is The Legal Driving Age The Same For All Countries?

By: Amy Nutt

The legal driving age is the age in which a person can obtain their driver's license to operate a motor vehicle. In the United States, the age in which a person can legally drive is 16 and there are certain rules that must be met before the teenager receives their license. These requirements include obtaining a learner's permit and taking driver education classes before taking the written and driving exam for the driver's license. However, the rules per state vary. Some states allow the learner's permit to be issued at the age of 15 and the teen must satisfy 6 months of driving practice with someone over 21 in the vehicle. During the 6 months, the learner must drive a certain number of hours during the day and a certain number of hours in the evenings. Then again, there are states that do not have such a requirement and may only require the teenager to have their permit for 30 days prior to taking the exam. Nevertheless, it isn't just about the requirements in the U.S. What about driving ages in other countries?

Here is the legal driving ages in various countries around the world:

•Canada: 18 (was just recently changed from 16)

•Russia: 18

•China: 18

•India: 18

•Japan: 18

•New Zealand: 15

•Ethiopia: 14

•Cyprus: 18

•Europe: 18 (the UK is 17, but considering an increase to 18 years of age)

It seems like 18 is the most common age to acquire a driver's license around the world with the exception of the U.S., New Zealand, the UK, and Ethiopia. However, there is one country that poses a very interesting scenario when it comes to the legal driving age. Usually, countries keep a consistent driving age, but Australia does not. Depending on where you are located in Australia depends on how old you can be when you can legally drive.

Here are the driving ages for Australia:

•New South Wales: 17

•Northern Territory: 17

•South Australia: 16

•Tansmania: 17

•Victoria: 18

•Western Australia: 17

•Queensland: 17

In most states within Australia, the learner's permit can be acquired 3 months before the teenager reaches the minimum age to acquire their driver's license.

In Europe, the following rules apply:

•The driver can be 16 years of age if operating a two-wheel or three-wheel vehicle that does not exceed 45 km/h

•The driver can be 16 years of age if driving a motorcycle with no more than a 125 cubic centimetre cylinder capacity and power that does not exceed 11 kW. The power/weight ratio should not exceed 0.1 kW/kg.

•The driver can be 18 if the power of a motorcycle does not exceed 35 kW and the power/weight ration does not exceed 0.2 kW/kg.

•Motorcycles with power that exceeds 15 kW has a minimum age of 20 years old

•The driver must be 18 years of age for regular motor vehicles and combination vehicles (except in the UK where the legal driving age is 17)

•When driving Lorries, the minimum age is either 18 years or 21 years depending on the type of vehicle being driven.

•For busses of all types, the minimum driving age is 21.

The differences seem to be quite comparable to one another since most countries have a driving age of at least 18. Reaching driving age is very important for a teenager because it is a symbol of freedom. One minute they are willing to run down the street to pick up the gallon of milk, but in about 6 months the excitement will wear away.

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