The Age Problem: Driving, Drinking and Renting

Written by Yulissa Chavez.
Graphic by Peyton Cabaniss

What is maturity? How does an individual know they have reached the age of maturity, and that they are not simply playing into imposter syndrome? The United States of America seems to be indecisive of an age that clearly marks when an individual is mature enough to handle the consequences and benefits of “adulting”. These inconsistencies can be restrictive if you are not educated upon the varying state laws that differ, as shown below. Notably, this article explores the inconsistencies between states/services that have polarizing views toward which age is suitable for “adulthood”.


Although an individual is eligible to become a driver at the age of sixteen, they are not allowed to legally rent a vehicle until they are at least twenty-five years of age due to the fear of liability. When it comes to traveling domestically, an individual may obtain a license as soon as they turn 16, but it would be useless if they are not 25 years of age or older, which is necessary to rent a car in certain locations.

There are discrepancies in how old an individual has to be to rent a vehicle in the United States. Some businesses in different states have a minimum requirement of twenty-one years of age to rent certain types of vehicles while some states have a requirement of twenty-five years of age to be eligible to rent any vehicle at all. For example, at Enterprise, the minimum age to rent a car is 21 years, and there is a young renter fee for drivers who are between ages 21- 24. Further, certain specialty and larger-sized vehicles are not rented to drivers under the age of 25. This means that there is a distrust toward people under the age of 25 despite the fact that they may be qualified drivers.


The age to legally drink nationally in the United States of America is 21. An individual can be arrested anywhere as soon as they turn 18 and can be sent to war at the age of 18. There is speculation on whether drinking should be in fact brought down to the age of 18 since people are legally considered adults. Advocates that bring up this issue usually discuss how this action would decrease binge drinking and the “overhypement” of alcohol which could lead to unhealthy drinking habits. Opposers argue that Americans should not be able to legally drink at the age of 18 because of the fear of a developmental/growth stop. Whether either of these opinions is more correct than the other is a matter of interpreting and analyzing the culture around us.


In order to rent a hotel room, an individual must be twenty one years of age. The legal explanation explains that since the legal national drinking age is twenty-one, hotel tenants refuse to rent hotels rooms to clients that are less than the aforementioned age because of fear of having to be responsible for any illegally drinking. This creates many inconveniences for those who miss their flights or have an emergency where they’d need to stay at a motel/hotel room. The problem derives from an unspoken answer of what should be considered THE age where maturity is reached. Moreover, what could possibly justify all of these laws that have different age requirements and restrictions? What does this say about our expectations and predicted behavior of people that reside in the United States?


The age to vote someone into office is eighteen years old. This also means that an individual is well informed and has the intellectual capability to compare and critically think about the platforms of candidates and how they measure to the ethics of the aforementioned individuals. This is also the age in which individuals can be sent to prison for committing a crime. To reiterate, this only creates more inconveniences for those that miss their flights or have an emergency.

Being an adult can perhaps be defined as being flexible, handling responsibilities, and critically thinking to solve important issues. But, because it seems that the United States has a problem with settling for one age as being the benchmark for adulthood, the definition becomes complicated and thus fosters never-ending confusion.

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