Graduated Licensing Works

The National Safety Council's (NSC) License to Save Report estimates implementation of graduated driver licensing laws in every state could save $13.6 billion and 2,000 lives per year.

The report also indicates graduated driver licensing laws have saved 15,000 lives in the last 20 years, helping new drivers gain experience under supervised conditions that minimize risk. Laws examined by researchers include nighttime driving restrictions, passenger limits, bans on cellphone use and texting while driving. They also looked at mandatory practice behind the wheel and age limits on learner's permits and driver's licenses.

These measures can improve safety for all drivers, especially novices, who are the most at-risk group. Drivers who are 16 years old have crash rates twice those of 18 to 19-year-old drivers and as much as four times higher than older motorists, the report indicates.

"Our elected officials do not have many opportunities during their careers to take action that will save thousands of lives and billions of dollars in one legislative action. This is one of those times," said NSC president and CEO Janet Froetscher.

Fatal crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. The NSC and others note that some states with graduated driver licensing laws have seen fatal crashes decrease by as much as 40 percent. With legislators likely to examine highway and infrastructure spending, including public safety measures, researchers are hopeful this data will motivate them to broaden the adoption of graduated driver licensing laws.

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