“We knew that when states pass good laws, lives are saved and a lot of money is saved. We’d just never done the analysis,” says John Ulczycki of the National Safety Council, which researched the issue for the Allstate Foundation.
The report comes as Congress prepares to consider a multiyear highway and transit-spending bill. Advocates of graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws are pushing to include funding for about $25 million a year in incentives for states to strengthen GDL programs.
Motor-vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the USA, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash, the CDC says.
Every state has some form of GDL, which rewards novice drivers with additional driving privileges as they gain experience and maturity. Ulczycki and other experts say the most effective programs contain seven key components; two states, New York and Delaware, have programs with all seven.
The seven components: minimum age 16 for a learner’s permit; six months before unsupervised driving; minimum 30 hours supervised driving during learner’s stage; intermediate licensing at 16½ minimum; intermediate nighttime driving restriction beginning no later than 10 p.m.; no more than one non-family passenger for intermediate license holders; and minimum age 17 for a full license.
One component that could draw staunch opposition from lawmakers concerned about states rights: raising the minimum age for getting a learner’s permit. Also, the 10,000-member National Youth Rights Association