Lawmakers propose national teen driving laws

In a previous post we discussed a study into teen car crashes which found that most teen accidents were due to inexperience rather than intoxication or recklessness. The study also brought the shocking death toll figures for teen drivers to the national attention. Lawmakers recently introduced legislation for national graduated driver's license requirements that might help stop some of the nearly 4,000 teen driving deaths every year.

The Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act of 2011 encourages states to adopt graduated driver's license laws within the next three years. These laws will require teen drivers to driver under certain restrictions when they first receive their licenses.

Typical restrictions place a limit on the number of non-family passengers in a car and limit cell phone use to emergency purposes only. Another common restriction of graduated driver's licenses is a driving curfew that does not allow a new driver to drive at night.

"Today is my son's 17th birthday," a sponsor of the bill said. "I have gone through GDL with him and am confident that he is a much better driver at his age than I was at 17."

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that over 90,000 American drivers have died in car accidents involving teenagers in the past 10 years. This means teens are involved in approximately 155 car accident related deaths every week.

"Teen drivers comprise only 7 percent of drivers on the road, yet 20 percent of all highway fatalities occur in crashes involving teen drivers," a bill sponsor said. "Action must be taken to educate teen drivers and protect everyone on our nation's roadways."

Source: The Beacon News, "Hultgren tackles teen driving laws on national level," Erika Wurst, 4/20/11

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