A new release from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute, advocates all fifty states adopt all five components of the toughest young driver laws in the nation. In the release, they state more than 500 lives could be saved and more than 9,500 collisions could be prevented each year and some states could halve or more than halve their rate of fatal crashes among 15- 17-year-olds if the strongest graduated driver licensing (GDL) provisions were adopted.
A new online calculator (iihs.org/gdl) shows the lives that could be saved, by state, if the some or all of the provisions were adopted. The five key components are permit age, practice driving hours, license age, night driving and teen passenger restrictions.
The current best practice provisions the Institute is supporting being implemented are a minimum license age of 17, a minimum permit age of 16, at least 65 supervised practice hours and, during the intermediate stage, a night driving restriction starting at 8 p.m., and a ban on all teen passengers.
In prior research the Institute and HLDI has shown that states with the strongest laws see the biggest reduction in fatal crashes compared with states with weak laws, but no state has enacted all five strongest laws.
Graduated licensing enables new teen drivers to gradually build up driving experience as they mature and develop on-the-road skills. Three stages of the system help drivers gain the experience they need: a supervised learning period, an intermediate licensed stage that limits driving in high-risk situations, and a license with full privileges. The longer the restrictions, the better.
“States don’t have to adopt the toughest laws in the nation to realize safety gains. Strengthening one or two components pays off. To maximize all of the benefits of graduated licensing, however, we would encourage lawmakers to consider the strongest provisions,” McCartt says.
The calculator was developed after years of evaluation of the importance of provisions for this age group. It estimates reflect the relative importance of each provision.
Estimated percent reductions in teen driver collision claims and fatal crashes if states adopted the best GDL provisions:
California – 13% decrease in collision claims among drivers 16-17 years old; 25% decrease in fatal crashes among drivers 15-17 years old.
Georgia – 18% decrease in collision claims among drivers 16-17 years old; 32% decrease in fatal crashes among drivers 15-17 years old.
Texas – 22% decrease in collision claims among drivers 16-17 years old; 44% decrease in fatal crashes among drivers 15-17 years old.
To see all states, see the report>