Brad Pistotnik Law
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Does Graduated Driver Licensing Save Lives?

Does Graduated Driver Licensing Save Lives?

Does graduated driver licensing save lives? What accident prevention steps can parents take to help protect their children as they learn how to safely operate a motor vehicle? The fact is that these licenses do reduce fatality risk, and parents can help prepare their children through education and modeling good driving habits.

From 1996 through 2011, all 50 states implemented graduated licensing programs. These programs are credited with helping to reduce the rates of fatal accidents involving 16 & 17 year old drivers by 8-14%.

Graduated drivers license programs that were most effective at reducing the rates of fatal motor vehicle accidents included a combination of several key elements. These include a minimum age of 16 before receiving a learner's permit and a mandatory waiting period of at least six months with a graduated permit before applying for a provisional license at age 17. Drivers should also have between 50-100 hours of supervised driving. Young drivers should also have restrictions on night driving and a limit on the number of passengers they are allowed to transport in their car.

Research conducted by the National Institute of Health showed that a combination of at least five of these requirements created dramatic reductions in the number of fatal accidents. Of particular note, restrictions on driving at night reduced fatal accident rates by 10% and reduced the rates of teen drivers involved in alcohol related crashes by 13%.

In addition to these restrictions, parents can help protect their children by stressing the importance of following other rules of the road. These include bans on texting which have reduced crash related ER visits by an average of 1,632 in states where texting while driving is banned. Wearing seat-belts is another rule, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates saves 15,000 lives per year.

Parents should also stress the importance of not driving while intoxicated. Data from the NHTSA shows that 17% of alcohol related motor vehicle fatalities in the US involve a driver under the age of 21. It is clear that too many teens still aren't getting the message that driving while drunk is a deadly decision.

It is also important to enroll young drivers in formal driver education courses. Only about half of the states require this as part of a graduated driver licensing program. These programs typically involve 30 hours or more of classroom instruction that covers everything from recognition of road signs to defensive driving tactics. Parents can enhance the effectiveness of these programs and reinforce the instruction by modeling these safe driving behaviors each time they get behind the wheel.

Call in the Bull when you have a car accident in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Texas. You can call us at 1-800-241-BRAD, or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400 to speak with an attorney. You can reach Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. You can call from Western Kansas at 620-THE-BULL.