Tougher teenage driving laws: pros and cons

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a report this week that indicated states with the toughest laws governing teenage driving reduced death rates for 16 year olds by up to 21% while states with less restrictive laws reduced by up to 11%. A study from John Hopkins University states the following provisions have the greatest impact among teen survivability:
  • Age requirements for learner permits, intermediate and full driver's licenses.
  • Supervised driving of hours of 30 or more.
  • Passenger restrictions while teen is driving.
  • Three-month waiting period for teen to obtain their intermediate license.
  • Night-time driving restrictions.
"We already knew that the programs reduced crash rates of young drivers," says John Hopkins professor Susan Baker and lead author of the above study, 'but we didn't know which programs were most effective." Currently 19 states have all the listed provisions on the books.

Supporters for tougher teenage driving laws, which includes the current head of the NHTSA, point to the report and the Hopkins study in the hope that other states will reevaluate their current regulations. But states with high numbers of farming communities most likely will resist such provisions, especially those raising the legal driving age to 17. The National Youth Rights Association (NYRA) also opposes such regulation on civil rights grounds. States NYRA director Alex Koroknay-Palicz says, "to have driving stripped away from young people is discriminating."

[Source: USA Today]

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