Graduated Driver Licensing

Graduated Driver Licensing Laws

 

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of American teens.[1] On average, more than 8 teens were killed in the United States each day of 2011 as a result of motor vehicle crashes.[2] In 2011, 4,767 people were killed in crashes involving young drivers aged 15 to 20.[3] Of those needless deaths, 1,987 were young drivers and 1,191 were passengers of young drivers.[4] The estimated economic cost of police-reported crashes involving young drivers between 15 and 20 years old was $40.8 billion.[5]

Teen drivers are far more likely to be involved in fatal crashes because they lack driving experience and tend to take greater risks. Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) programs introduce teens to the driving experience gradually by phasing in full driving privileges over time and in lower risk settings. These programs have been effective in reducing teen crash deaths. Optimal GDL laws have multiple components, including a three-stage licensing process and restrictions on nighttime driving, number and age of passengers, and cell phone usage. 

While most states have some elements of a GDL program, there is not a single state that has a comprehensive GDL law that includes all the optimal elements.

GDL Program Facts

 

·         In states that have adopted GDL programs, studies have found overall crash reductions among teen drivers of about ten to thirty percent.[6]

·         The fatal crash rate per mile driven is nearly twice as high for 16-17 year-olds as it is for 18-19 year-olds.[7]

·         Compared to GDL programs without any of the seven recommended components, fatal crash involvement rates were 16 percent to 21 percent lower in GDL programs that included age requirements plus: 3 or more months of waiting before the intermediate stage, nighttime driving restriction, and either supervised driving of at least 30 hours or passenger restriction.[8]

·         Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths in 2011 occurred most frequently from 9 p.m. to midnight (16 percent) and midnight to 3 a.m. (16 percent).[9] States with nighttime driving restrictions show crash reductions of up to 60 percent during restricted hours.[10]

·         Fatal crash rates are 21 percent lower for 15 to 17 year old drivers when prohibited from having any teenage passengers in their vehicles, compared to when two or more passengers were permitted.[11]

·        Delaying the minimum age for obtaining a learner’s permit was associated with lower fatal crash rates for 15-17 year-olds combined; a 1-year delay (e.g., from age 15 to 16) reduced the fatal crash rate by 13 percent.[12]

·         Text messaging has become a more prominent issue when it comes to distracted teen drivers. In a 2011 study by Liberty Mutual Insurance Group and Students Against Destructive Decisions, 53 percent of high school students admitted to texting while driving, even though 59 percent rated text messaging as “the most distracting behavior while driving”.[13]

·         A 2010 survey conducted by IIHS shows that parents favor GDL laws that are as strict or even stricter that currently exist in any state. More than half think the minimum licensing age should be 17 or older.[14]

·         Almost three-quarters (74 percent) of teens approve of a single, comprehensive law that incorporates the key elements of GDL programs, according to a 2010 survey by the Allstate Foundation.[15]

Click here for more information about state legislative activity related to teen driving.

Click here for more information about federal activity related to teen driving. 



[1]   Centers for Disease Control And Prevention, Teen Driver: Fact Sheet, citing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [Online]. (2012). National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (producer). [Cited 2012 Sept 28], available at http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/teen_drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html

[2]   Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Fatality Facts 2011: Teenagers website, available at http://www.iihs.org/research/fatality.aspx?topicName=Teenagers

[3]   Traffic Safety Facts 2011 Data: Young Drivers, NHTSA, Apr. 2013, DOT HS 811 744, available at http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811744.pdf

[4]   Traffic Safety Facts 2011 Data: Young Drivers, NHTSA, Apr. 2013, DOT HS 811 744, available at http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811744.pdf

[5]   Traffic Safety Facts 2002: Young Drivers, NHTSA, DOT HS 809 619, available at http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/2002ydrfacts.pdf.

[6]   Graduated Licensing Laws and Fatal Crashes of Teenage Drivers: A National Study, Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, June 2010, available at http://www.iihs.org/research/topics/pdf/r1122.pdf

[7]   Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Fatality Facts 2011: Teenagers website, available at http://www.iihs.org/research/fatality.aspx?topicName=Teenagers

[8]   National Evaluation of Graduated Driver Licensing Programs, NHTSA, June 2006, DOT-HS-810-614, p. vi., available at http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/NewDriver/GDLReport/index.html

[9]   Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Fatality Facts 2011: Teenagers website, available at http://www.iihs.org/research/fatality.aspx?topicName=Teenagers

[10] Traffic Safety Facts: Laws, NHTSA, January 2008, DOT-HS-810-888W, available at http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/Communication%20&%20Consumer%20Information/Articles/Associated%20Files/810888.pdf.

[11] Graduated Licensing Laws and Fatal Crashes of Teenage Drivers: A National Study, Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, June 2010, available at http://www.iihs.org/research/topics/pdf/r1122.pdf

[12] Graduated Licensing Laws and Fatal Crashes of Teenage Drivers: A National Study, Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, June 2010, available at http://www.iihs.org/research/topics/pdf/r1122.pdf

[13] Liberty Mutual Press Release “Liberty Mutual and SADD Study Finds Texting While Driving by Teens Not Affected by Their Awareness of the Dangers, Text Conversations with Mom and Dad on the Rise”, October 19, 2011, available at http://www.libertymutualgroup.com/omapps/ContentServer?c=cms_asset&pagename=LMGroup%2FViews%2FlmgView98&cid=1240005688166

[14] Williams, A.F; Braitman, K.A.; and McCartt, A.T. 2010. Views of parents of teenagers about licensing policies: a national survey. Arlington, VA: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

[15] Teen Safe Driving: Teen Licensing Survey, Allstate Foundation, available at http://www.allstatefoundation.org/teen-licensing-survey

Click here for more information about state legislative activity related to teen driving.

Click here for more information about federal activity related to teen driving.

June 2013

Share This Page