Twenty years ago now, researchers looked at electronic vehicle records of 37,280 fatal crashes for year 1997. These records revealed that:
- The crash rate is 5 times higher for 16-year-old drivers than for drivers over 25.
- 16-year-old drivers drove only 0.5% of vehicle miles nationwide, yet represented 2.1% of all-aged drivers accounted for 3.4% of all driving-related fatalities.
- 14% of 16-year-old drivers in fatal crashes had a previous serious ticket or accident.
What is the solution? America is revolutionizing how young people are licensed to drive. Twenty-eight states have followed the State of Florida in adopting legislation that promises to reduce body counts in the next decade. Laws designed to curb drunk driving and the frequency of seat-belt use have made significant improvements which are reflected in the data collected.
Similar results are expected with graduated licensing laws, which, when fully implemented, might seem very draconian.
How do parents feel about law changes? Some say: “As a parent, I love the law.” “If they get caught driving at night, they go back to the beginning” with six more months of restriction. That empowers parents. It also saves lives.
“The key to graduated licensing lies in the night-driving restriction,” says teen-driving researcher David Preusser, whose studies have found nighttime crash reductions of 25-69% where graduated licensing has been adopted.