ADVOCATES FOR HIGHWAY AND AUTO SAFETY CALLS ON CONGRESS
TO FOCUS ON BETTER TEEN DRIVING LAWS IN EVERY STATE
The Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STANDUP) Act
Will Address #1 Killer of Teens in U.S. As Global Road Safety Decade is Launched
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Beth Weaver, 301-814-4088
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, D.C. – As nations worldwide, under The United Nations umbrella, called today for urgent, sustained attention to motor vehicle safety upgrades in every country and a Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011 – 2020), Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) urged Congress to pass the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STANDUP) Act (H.R.1515/S.528) as a proven and effective public health and safety intervention that will prevent teen crashes and save thousands of lives, including novice drivers, teen passengers and others who share the road with them.
The bi-artisan STANDUP legislation has been introduced and awaits action in both Houses of Congress. The bill establishes minimum requirements for state graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws based on recommendations of the National Transportation Safety Board, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and public health and safety professionals, as well as extensive research on successful state teen driving programs.
In most major motorized nations other than the U.S., the minimum age to begin learning to drive is 16 or older. The minimum age for unrestricted solo driving in these countries is most often 18, and sometimes 19 or 20. Although peer-reviewed research points to the lifesaving benefits of delaying licensure, in the U.S. only 8 states and the District of Columbia require waiting until age 16 for an official learner’s permit; the rest of the states issue allow learner’s permits at varying ages from 14 to 15 years/ 9 months. Just five (5) states require waiting until 18 to lift all restrictions. The STANDUP Act requires every state to set 16 as the minimum age at which a beginning driver can obtain a learner’s permit, and age 18 to drive without any restrictions including the number of passengers allowed, cell phone use and nighttime driving. Furthermore, the bill requires states to establish minimum standards and restrictions for the entire GDL period or lose a small percentage of federal highway funds after three years of incentive funding.
“STANDUP is a catalyst for protecting every teen in every state with the most effective graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws for beginning teen drivers,” said Judith Lee Stone, president of Advocates. “The best peer-reviewed research in our own country and across the world tells us that every state in the USA should have a comprehensive and fully-effective GDL law in place, including later licensing ages, and right now, most states have dangerous gaps in their laws. This nation generally allows its teens to drive at far younger ages than most other countries, and few states have the comprehensive and necessary elements of GDL laws that fully meet best practices for teen driving.”
Although teen drivers present risks in any motorized country, in the U.S., in 2009, more than 5,600 people died in crashes involving young drivers (15-20), costing the nation more than $40 billion that year alone. Since 1999, more than 90,000 teens, their passengers, and people in other vehicles and pedestrians have died in motor vehicle crashes with at least one teen driver at the wheel. In the U.S., 16-19 year-olds are four times as likely to crash as older drivers.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is a Washington D.C.-based coalition of consumer, health, medical, safety and insurance companies and organizations working together in Congress and state legislatures to advance road safety.
The Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020) was declared by The United Nations to encourage U.N. Member States to strengthen their commitment to road safety and to reduce traffic injuries, particularly in low-and middle-income countries.