What Age Can you Legally Drive Around The World?
The general minimum driving age in the UK is 17. Of course, there are some exceptions to that regulation, but it’s by definition the legal age of driving. And generally, that reflects attitudes around the world, with similar ages being applied across Europe and around the world.
But there are some notable exceptions to that rule. Some nations deem driving an important aspect of teenage years, allowing people much younger than 17 to take to the road. We don’t think Here are some of the youngest ages you’re allowed to drive at around the globe:
Australia – 15 & 9 Months.
You can get your Learner Licence in the Australian Capital Territory nine months after your fifteenth birthday. You have to pass a driving test and complete an additional ten-hour course, before being allowed to take to the road, compulsively with L-plates at first. You’ll also need to be accompanied by a full licence holder.
Most of the rest of Australia has a minimum learning age of 16, so many people just wait until then to have as few restrictions as possible placed on them when they do pass. It’s worth noting that road laws vary by state, too, and that there are elements of confusion when crossing boundaries within the country if you fall under one state’s legislation but not another’s.
It’s unclear how a 15-year-old might afford a car unless they buy it outright, maybe financially supported by a parent. Car finance wouldn’t be an option in this situation! If you’re a new driver in the UK though, we offer fantastic, specialist bad credit car finance.
Northern Mariana Islands – 15 & 6 Months.
Another territory that feels that 15 years old is too young to drive, but that 15 and a few months makes all the difference, is the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands off the coast of America. Here, you can legally drive just six months after your fifteenth birthday. So, are the Northern Mariana Islands lax on their safety? Well, not exactly… It’s mandatory to wear a helmet when cycling until you’re 18!
France – drive legally at 15
Just 21 miles from Dover, you may know Calais by the landing destination for various ferry routes. Here, the young residents of Calais can get their first taste of automotive freedom at age 15. A system called the apprentissage anticipé de la conduite enables young people to start learning earlier than many others, giving them a head start on their peers.
This will have benefits later on and will reduce the length of the driver’s probationary period from three years to two, but as with any country’s provisional licence, they’ll have to be accompanied by an already qualified driver. They will then need to wait until they’re 18 to drive unaccompanied or with unqualified friends, however.
Well, take that with a pinch of salt. Some states, yes, it is 14. However, you won’t end up in the cab of a yellow New York cab with a 14 year old at the wheel. The states in question are Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota & South Dakota. These states all offer learner licences to 14-year-olds, while Michigan and Montana will be open to giving you one a year and a half later.
South Dakota, for example, will give a restricted licence to someone three months after their 14th birthday but won’t offer a full, unrestricted licence until you are 16 years old. Several states have specific restrictions in place preventing young drivers from driving at night, for example, or from carrying more than one passenger to avoid misbehaving teenagers.
Alberta Province is a pretty huge chunk of landmass in America, broadly comparable in size to Spain & England together. Here, a fourteen-year-old can get behind the wheel– though only when accompanied by a full licence holder over the age of 18. This is very similar to a provisional licence in the UK. However, unlike in the UK, you can’t use it to make sure you’re on time for your double year 9 maths class.
This only applies to Alberta Province, however, and you can’t drive between the hours of midnight and 5 am.
Bonus Round- North Korea
So, if you thought 14 was young, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could drive a car by the age of 3! And no, we haven’t missed a “1”.
This, obviously, is according to official documents and should, also obviously, be taken with a very large pinch (spoonful) of salt.
The documents were accompanied by and taught in the introduction of a new subject in the North Korean national curriculum – ‘Kim Jong-un’s Revolutionary Activities’ – which appeared in schools in 2015.