r/MapPorn Jun 15 '21

Minimum age to drive a car or buy a beer across the EU and the US. In theory, in South Dakota, you can legally drive a car when you are 14 years old. In theory, in Germany, you can legally buy a beer when you are 14 years old 🇺🇸🇪🇺🗺️

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154 Upvotes

66

u/didiman123 Jun 15 '21

In Germany you need to be 16 to buy beer and wine and 18 for everything else. Also, with 17 you're only allowed to drive with registered drivers (min age 30, no serious law violations in traffic in the past).

29

u/P3chv0gel Jun 15 '21

In theory you are legally allowed to buy beer at age 14, if your Parents are with you

20

u/BlackJoke3008 Jun 15 '21

No, you are allowed to drink beer at 14 with your parents by your side. Buying is a different story.

5

u/Tschalala Jun 15 '21

True but still misleading tho. Makes it look like you can do these things on your own at that age which is not true... Reminds me of advertisements.

1

u/Scienter17 Jun 15 '21

Same in Wisconsin and a few other states.

0

u/DemSexusSeinNexus Jun 15 '21

Your also allowed to buy beer at 1 day old if your parents are with you.

48

u/gautenub Jun 15 '21

It’s so weird to me that the US basically lets children drive cars, but doesn’t let adults enjoy a beer.

34

u/shanep35 Jun 15 '21

US has a different layout than these other countries. Cars are almost a necessity and not a lot of reliable public transportation in the US. Also, a lot of states, like Virginia for example, allows people to drink at home who are under age. Drinking age is also higher in the US because of the amount of drivers and drunk driving incidents. Edit note: Some US states have a lower age driving limit due to farming and using farming vehicles. Also, a lot of states allow a learners permit at 15 for driving.

6

u/gautenub Jun 15 '21

Makes sense when you put it that way I guess. So with a learners permit, do you need a passenger who’s already a licenced driver with you?

10

u/miclugo Jun 15 '21

Yes. (At least in the states I'm familiar with. Every state does things a little differently.)

3

u/StoicStone001 Jun 15 '21

I believe in most states the licensed passenger must also have held their full license for 5 years (with no issue)

4

u/gautenub Jun 15 '21

Same as in Norway then. Gotta be 25+ and held their licence for 5 years. Only you cannot start driving training until you’re 16.

2

u/RedmondBob Jun 15 '21

U.S. is also a car culture, i.e. I want to go anywhere I want at any time

1

u/Bismuth_210 Jun 15 '21

Driving accidents kill ~40,000 Americans a year. Alcohol kills around ~100,000 Americans a year.

The US drinking age being 21 saves thousands and thousands of lives. It has massively reduced the rate of alcohol consumption amongst high schoolers.

7

u/[deleted] Jun 15 '21

Lol, or you can teach more responsible drinking habits, which could be helped by introducing alcohol at younger ages. No need to treat people who can join the military like infants.

3

u/gautenub Jun 15 '21

Does the age requirement really stop anyone younger from drinking tho? I know in Norway at least, everyone starts drinking before 18. I can’t imagine it’s too different in the US. Just seems like a lot of hassle enforcing laws against legal aged adults drinking (not too strong) alcoholic beverages they’re already drinking anyway.

7

u/blueotter28 Jun 15 '21

You can get a driver's license at 16 in Maryland. This map says 17. I'm 99% sure that's true of DC and Pennsylvania as well.

3

u/2ndHalfTeam Jun 15 '21

Can confirm 16 for PA drivers license age.

39

u/Fullback-15_ Jun 15 '21 edited Jun 15 '21

Interesting comparisons! You still have to differenciate between being able to drive a car as a learner, and being able to drive a car alone, which seems to be a big difference between Europe and the USA. Nobody let's you drive a car alone before 18 in Europe.

Also interesting to note the difference between the 2 subjects. Almost nobody drives before the legal age on public roads, but basically everybody drinks a beer before the legal age ;)

18

u/yerilit Jun 15 '21

Nobody let's you drive a car alone before 18 in Europe.

The UK and Ireland both do. (100% certain on the UK, pretty sure Ireland is the same).

2

u/Fullback-15_ Jun 15 '21

I didn't know! Thanks for that :)

4

u/yerilit Jun 15 '21

It's kind of random. There's nothing else I can think of where 17 is the cutoff age except driving...

4

u/alex8339 Jun 15 '21

Nobody let's you drive a car alone before 18 in Europe.

Nope. Ireland actually has the minimum at 17.

5

u/tomate44 Jun 15 '21

In Austria it's 17 as well

53

u/Dwesaqe Jun 15 '21

You can buy a gun, drive a car or vote, but you cannot buy a beer before you're 21. This fact about US always seemed weird to me.

8

u/-ThisUsernameIsTaken Jun 15 '21 edited Jun 15 '21

This was the reason many states lowered it to 18 nearly 40 years ago. However, due to increases in fatal drunk driving accidents, most voluntarily raised the age and eventually all raised it to order to comply with the National Minimum Drinking Age Act.

In many states, it's not illegal to drink under 21 though, only to purchase it.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._history_of_alcohol_minimum_purchase_age_by_state

29

u/Mabepossibly Jun 15 '21

You can sign contracts, go to war but still be 3 years too immature in the governments eyes to drink a Coors Light.

Can you imagine the political fight in the US if someone tried to brig our drinking laws closer to the Europeans?

6

u/Scienter17 Jun 15 '21

It was at 18 for a long time. But drunk driving deaths forced a change to 21.

4

u/-ThisUsernameIsTaken Jun 15 '21 edited Jun 15 '21

They did it before. But quickly raised it after a large increase in traffic fatalities. By the time the National Minimum Drinking Age Act passed, most states had already voluntarily raised it on their own

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._history_of_alcohol_minimum_purchase_age_by_state

17

u/OrangeJuiceAlibi Jun 15 '21

You can legally die in an illegal war before you can drink a beer.

2

u/shanep35 Jun 15 '21

Depends on the state(s) your referring to on all of the points you brought up.

3

u/Bismuth_210 Jun 15 '21

Guns kill ~30,000 Americans a year. Auto accidents kill ~40,000.

Alcohol kills ~100,000.

The US drinking age being 21 has saved thousands and thousands of lives and massively reduced alcohol consumption amongst high schoolers.

3

u/Peakay100 Jun 15 '21

Yeah, people don't like it, but the stats don't lie. There's a reason why drunk driving deaths have fallen so massively ever since the increase, teens are just highly irresponsible

2

u/OrderUnclear Jun 15 '21

but the stats don't lie.

They very much do - or at least the people who - intentionally or not - interpret them. This here is actually an excellent example for this: There are a TON of other factors at play here that will affect the overall death rate. For example the strong increase in cars saftey features, leading to far less deaths than even just a decade ago.

1

u/[deleted] Jun 15 '21 edited Jun 15 '21

Lol, I'm 19 and therefore of military age and I am employed and working on moving out, but please, explain how I am too dumb to drink.

7

u/brew_detective Jun 15 '21 edited Jun 15 '21

Sweden: You can drive a car as a learner, with a supervisor next seat to you at 16. You can't however, get a driver's license and drive alone (for a car) until you're 18.

You can also buy beer at 18, but only at bars/restaurants. If you want to bring beer home you can only buy "folköl". These are beer and cider up to ABV 3.5% only. To buy and bring home stronger beer, booze or wine you need to be 20.

Edit: cleared up, typo

4

u/Sir_Keeper Jun 15 '21

Portugal, Croatia, Czechia, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, Poland and Finland are perfectly balanced, as all things should be.

2

u/CatL1f3 Jun 15 '21

You missed a spot

3

u/nathsk Jun 15 '21

From an outsider looking in, I think you guys have it completely wrong in the US!

Letting kids drive cars from such a young age means they get super accustomed to it and too comfortable. By the time they hit 21 and have already been driving for a few years, it's likely too tempting to get in a car and not think alcohol will have too much of an effect on their driving. They don't get accustomed to alcohol, and to me it's a pretty bad combination.

In Europe, kids gets used to drinking alcohol, its effects and it's problems younger, and they don't drive until they're older and a little more aware of the dangers of being in charge of a metal killing machine on the roads. I think it's a more sensible approach.

In the UK we're introduced to the concept of (legal) driving and alcohol purchase only a year apart, so both are viewed as very adult things to do, which require responsibility. That I think helps, particularly in the younger generation now who are more aware, to avoid drink driving.

6

u/cheerleader88 Jun 15 '21

Canada we drive at 16 and drink legally at 19. Many young Americans vacation here for that reason.

6

u/TragicsNFG Jun 15 '21

You can drink legally at 18 in Alberta, Manitoba & Quebec. And you can get a learners permit to drive at 14 in Alberta.

1

u/NiceShotMan Jun 15 '21

Many young Americans vacation in Montreal for this reason!

1

u/TragicsNFG Jun 15 '21

Many young Saskatchewanians travel into Alberta or Manitoba for this reason too.

2

u/NiceShotMan Jun 15 '21

Poor 18 year old Saskatchewanians, living in a dry desert sandwiched between two utopias of liquor soaked freedom!

4

u/Zenon_Czosnek Jun 15 '21

I don't think your car ages in Europe are right.

There are full size cars (you would need a B licence to drive them) but there are also smaller microcars and stuff. They are especially popular in France as voitures sans permit, and the name says it all: a you need is AM (for really lightweight ones) or B1 category licence to drive them, respectively 14 and 16 years old.

And I think this is the case all across the EU, as the categories are the same. It's just that in some countries microcars are extremely rare.

3

u/filiaaut Jun 15 '21

They took the minimum age for "conduite accompagnée", which is now 15, as a minimum driving age I think.

4

u/Naellys Jun 15 '21

I'm French and never heard about licenseless cars being popular here. And 18 is the required age to drive regular cars, so it seems to me it would have been much more fitting to put 18 on this diagram.

1

u/Zenon_Czosnek Jun 15 '21

I never saw as many of them as I saw in Paris (or Amsterdam).

The biggest microcar manufacturers are also french companies. I am not saying that they are relatively popular amongst other classes of vehicles, but they are relatively more popular there than in other eU countries.

2

u/gautenub Jun 15 '21

I know that in Sweden you can drive something called an EPA-tractor from you’re 16. Essentialy a regular car turned farming vehicle but used as a regular car. Looks something like this.

1

u/litevader1 Jun 15 '21

In the Netherlands you can't get a B1. That category doesn't really exist here.

6

u/Zenon_Czosnek Jun 15 '21

Well, it has to, the categories are unified across the EU, aren't they?

Perhaps noone bothers to offer them in driving school as demand is too miniscule (this is the case in Poland as well, it is also hard to find a school offering C1 licences - because why would anyone bother if you can pay pretty much the same money and get your proper C - but surely you can drive there if you have one from another EU country.

3

u/Physical-Order Jun 15 '21

Where’s the map? Good work but should be on r/Dataisbeautiful

3

u/Potato_Cake7 Jun 15 '21

The countries and states are mostly where they would be on a map so I guess this is a map

2

u/SupperImuri Jun 15 '21

In Finland, there is a possibility to apply for driving licence when you are 17 if you live in the rural area. And 99% of those who apply will get it. So I think Finland the driving age should be 17, not 18.

2

u/FlaviusStilicho Jun 15 '21

Wasn't it some ski jumper who got it earlier by special decree or something... Cause he couldn't get to practise.. or do I remember that wrong?

1

u/SupperImuri Jun 19 '21

Yep, the excuse can be anything. Mostly related to hobbies (can't get to practice with public transport), education or work. So anything really

2

u/pinkycatcher Jun 15 '21

I don't like the color scheme, it's implying that older is an objectively better choice when there's more to debate about that.

2

u/scrappy-coco-86 Jun 15 '21

Now do it with motorbike/ scooter driving license

2

u/NicolBolasUBBBR Jun 15 '21

In Italy the legal drinking age was 16 until a few years ago (excluding spirits, kinda like what Germany has now), when I turned 16 I could drink beer at bars... Then a couple months before I turned 18 they changed the law and made 18 the new drinking age and started asking ID to serve alcohol and enter night clubs... That summer I was the only one in my group of friends who couldn't drink (theoretically lol) at bars...

2

u/Eldarinwe_Noble Jun 16 '21

It still baffles me that Europeans don't understand why the drinking age is 21 yet driving is lower. I was taught why in like 7th grade health class.

The brain doesn't fully develop until you're like 25 years old, why the fuck would we allow people that are 16 years old be able to drink at the same time that they're able to drive? When you start drinking that young, you'll have a higher chance of getting an addiction. When you're 21, you're going to be more mature and less susceptible to addiction.

This is literally a good concept that multiple public speakers at my school have said time and time again. It prevents people with less developed brains from gaining a bad addiction while also being able to access a vehicle without supervision.

I'd love to imagine a world where the US had a drinking age of like 16 while all of Europe was at 21. There would definitely be arguments on how like "American laws allow young children to drink and drive while Europe is far ahead and prevents people from drinking until they're way older!" It's the same fucking thing here.

Why the fuck should children at the age of 16 be allowed to drink alcohol??? They're going to get addicted and it's going to be worse for them.

Yes, you're an adult at 18, but you shouldn't be allowed to do anything you want just because you're legally an adult.

For example, gambling (from the places I've gone to at least) don't let people gamble unless they're 21 years old. You can make the same argument of "we let 18 year olds go to Iraq and get blown up by bombs yet they can't spend money at a casino and play games". It's because they don't want people who just became adults to be like "Wow now I can do whatever I want" and them gamble themselves into debt and end up in fucking financial ruin because their underdeveloped brain isn't ready for situations like that. By waiting till you're 21, hopefully the thrill of wanting to gamble is lessened and you'd be more responsible than when you were 18. It's the same thing with drinking. You don't want people who become 18 to now think "Now I can do whatever I want and go to parties and get drunk" and all of that because they won't learn how to be responsible and will end up getting a bad habit of drinking. It's such a simple concept that no one on Reddit understands for some reason.

Same reasons that Pistols (in most states) aren't able to be purchased until you're 21 years old. "but im an adult why cant i have a gun!!" because you're probably too braindead at 18 to be able to handle a firearm so you'll have to wait a longer time and prove that you're responsible before you purchase one.

And for anyone doing the "we send children into warzones yet they can't drink" argument; 90% of all personnel in the US Military serve NON-COMBAT roles and aren't anywhere near active combat zones. And that there are also a million people in the US Reserves that are stationed at home and in safe places and don't work primarily on military bases.

"Roughly 40% of those who join the military never get deployed to a combat zone at all.
10% to 20% of those who do find themselves on a deployment wind up in a combat zone. Remember, that is not 10 to 20% of the total. It is just 10 to 20% of the 60% who get deployed.
Most of the troops who do end up in combat zones do not actually enter combat against the enemy. They are support troops backing up those who do.
When you break it down, about one out of every 10 soldiers in the military — 10% overall — actually go to combat and have to fire their weapons."

3

u/[deleted] Jun 18 '21 edited Jun 18 '21

A major advantage of young European drinking laws is that alcohol can be introduced to people at young ages and moderate drinking habits can be instilled, allowing for more reasonable interactions with alcohol later in life. It's better to introduce stuff early and teach people on proper and good use rather than sheltering people.

Also, Oklahoma allows gambling at 18. I did it on my 18th birthday. Guess what? Not an addict.

And even if the vast majority of people in the military don't get sent into combat, it's still a possibility. 18-20 year olds can and do still fight in wars, even if it is not that common. I'd say they can be trusted to drink.

2

u/ashimomura Jun 16 '21

It took me a while to figure out why England was not there :(

3

u/De-nis Jun 15 '21

Based Germany

2

u/pastab0x Jun 15 '21

There is something weird with the "buying beer" definition, because in France there is no minimum legal age to "drink beer", only to "buy beer". So either the definition is wrong, or the age is wrong

I admit it would be weird to see 0 as the minimum drinking age

1

u/LionLucy Jun 15 '21

Same in the UK. But police can confiscate alcohol from children if they're drinking in public. At home, children are allowed to drink alcohol.

3

u/maps_us_eu Jun 15 '21

Minimum age to drive a car or buy a beer across the EU and the US.

In theory, in South Dakota, you can legally drive a car when you are 14 years old. In theory, in Germany, you can legally buy a beer when you are 14 years old.

Note: Of course, drinking alcohol and driving should never be combined. The "buy beer" age is the ability to legally buy a beer or drink it. The "driver car" age is the ability to receive a driving license and drive a car with supervision or with some restrictions.

🇺🇸🇪🇺🗺️

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal\_drinking\_age#Europe

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List\_of\_minimum\_driving\_ages#Europe

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driver%27s\_licenses\_in\_the\_United\_States#Licenses\_for\_adults\_and\_minors;\_GDL\_laws

11

u/11160704 Jun 15 '21

Well in Germany, children can consume alcohol at the age of 14 when they are together with their parents. But you can only buy beer on your own at the age of 16. (Although at least where I grew up it was possible to buy alcohol earlier and nobody asked about the age).

1

u/maps_us_eu Jun 15 '21

We did mention that with the small font on the map as we had no idea how to present it better with a short title without going into all of the details. We will improve in future :)

2

u/11160704 Jun 15 '21

Well I think it's ok to simplify it in the title but in your comment below you could have been a bit more precise.

By the way, in Germany it's also legal to drink beer before the age of 14 because children under the age of 14 can't legally be held accountable for their actions. It could hower be a violation of the parents duty to supervise their children.

1

u/Staudi99 Jun 15 '21

Small correction for Austria. You can get your driving license at 17

2

u/Mrldbcn Jun 15 '21

About France you can’t drive at 15 by yourself you can only get your helped car license, it means you need to learn with one member of your family and you will get the license easier at 18. So it’s kinda saying fake things or at least they should have add details to it.

1

u/YoureAWizardGary Jun 15 '21

Some of the minimum driving ages (for US states) are too high! Kansas could be 14, Minnesota 15... if you include "farm permits". Some other Midwest/Great Plains states probably offer them too. They allow you to legally drive a vehicle (unaccompanied) at a younger age than a regular license, as long as it's for farm work. Of course, lots of the kids that have them play fast and loose with what counts as "farm work"...

0

u/[deleted] Jun 16 '21

EU countries are not like American states. The EU is not a true union. Comparing the two is like comparing Pomegranate seeds and apples.

1

u/popopopopopopopq Jun 15 '21

In Italy you need 18yo to drive a car. 16 to drink beers. 18 to drink super alcohol

1

u/joils1989 Jun 15 '21

Sweden is wrong, to be able to get a driverslicence you have to be 18 years old.

1

u/cougarlt Jun 15 '21

Tell that to all those 16 years old teenagers who drive A-tractors.

1

u/prussian-junker Jun 15 '21

I got my NY drivers license 6 months before I turned 17.

1

u/SubToad0430 Jun 16 '21

This is a little misleading, you can legally drink at 18 in some states as long as you are under adult supervision

1

u/Godisdeadbutimnot Jun 16 '21

you have to be 17 to drive in MD? That’s gotta be wrong. I got my license at 16 and a half