Teenage Driving Restrictions May Go Nationwide with Graduated Driver Licensing

Implementing nationwide restrictions on teenage driving could save 2,000 lives and billions of dollars each year, says a new study conducted by insurance and safety advocates. It’s for this reason that the report, released by the National Safety Council, a congressionally-chartered independent research agency, called for a national standard in teenage driving laws, also known as “graduated driver licensing” or GDL.

Teenage Driving License Restrictions

According to the National Safety Council, taking time to ensure teen drivers are well educated before getting behind the wheel could not only save thousands of lives each year, it would save tons of money.

The report, funded by the Allstate Foundation, a charitable and research group supported by auto insurance company Allstate Corp., analyzed its own data on crashes involving teenage drivers, compiling reports on medical expenses, police and ambulance costs, wage and insurance losses, vehicle damage and costs to employers for lost productivity.

When comparing costs from 2009, the safety council’s report found that teen crashes cost the U.S. $38.3 billion annually. Additionally, in analyzing federal traffic safety data, it was determined that crashes involving teenage drivers are the No. 1 killer of teenagers in the U.S.

Overall, more than 81,000 people died in car crashes involving drivers ages 15 to 20 from 2000 to 2009, indicating to the council that it is now time for teen driving restrictions.

Graduated Driver Licensing Laws Proposed by Agency

In an effort to reduce the number of teenage driving accidents in the U.S. and also lower costs associated with teen crashes, the National Safety Council is calling for Graduated Driver Licensing laws to be implemented nationwide.

Currently, several states have their own GDL, but they vary depending on the state’s driving rules. The council would like to see the same rules nationwide that include the following guidelines:

  • Teens would receive driver’s licenses at age 18
  • Teens would be banned from texting and using cellphones when behind the wheel
  • The number of teen passengers in a car would be limited
  • Restrictions would be implemented on nighttime driving

The group noted that there will be costs to come in tow if legislation were to be approved. The group says implementing comprehensive GDL legislation in all 50 states would cost $13.6 billion a year. However, with Congress reportedly moving closer to taking up legislation to reauthorize federal highway spending, the council hopes to have GDL laws considered as a possible part of this legislation.