The recently-released “License to Save” report which was developed by the Allstate Foundation and the National Safety Council suggests that GDL (graduated driver licensing) laws are the way to go if individual states want to boost safety and save money. Specifically, the report says, if all fifty states went to a GDL system it could result in 2,000 fewer people dying in auto accidents every year, and save more than $13.5 billion a a year.
The report also found that such laws have already saved roughly 15,000 lives over the last twenty years.
GDL laws work because new teen drivers are the most likely motorists to have car accidents, and current statistics show that sixteen-year-old drivers already have crash rates that are twice as great as their 18-to-19-year-old counterparts, and four times greater than the crash rates of older adult drivers. A graduated system helps this segment of the driving population gain valuable experience under conditions that have less risk and more supervision. Most such laws include restrictions on driving after dark, the number of passengers, and the use of electronic equipment (cell phones, etc.) and require a certain number of behind-the-wheel driving hours. These laws grant a learner’s permit no younger than age 16, and don’t grant a full license until a driver turns 18. Such laws have caused the number of deaths caused by teenaged driving to drop by as much as 40 percent.
Speaking on behalf of Allstate, Vicky Dinges, vice president of social responsibility, said, “Teen driving deaths are a real public health crisis. What’s worse is that these deaths are avoidable.”