NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Graduated Licensing Reduces Youth Deaths

January 22, 1999

Twenty-three states have made various changes in their driver-licensing laws as they apply to new teen drivers. The process is called graduated licensing and most restrict night driving by teenagers and require that an adult supervise initial driving. Most of the other 27 states and the District of Columbia are expected to debate an array of changes this legislative session.

How successful have the new laws been?

  • A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that the number of fatal and injury crashes involving 15- to 17-year-olds in Florida was 9 percent below what would have been expected without the licensing changes.
  • Crashes declined most for 15-year-olds, and nighttime crashes involving those from 15 to 17 were 17 percent below what otherwise would have been expected.
  • There were no changes in fatal or injury crashes in neighboring Alabama, which has yet to enact a graduated licensing law.

Experts believe that, in addition to restricting night driving and requiring adult supervision, it helps to ban or limit teen- age passengers and to withhold full driving privileges until the driver reaches age 18.

Source: Associated Press, "Graduated Licensing Found to Save Lives of Young Drivers," Washington Times, January 22, 1999.


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