Statistics and research has shown that driver safety education programs and experience on the road are important factors in preventing accidents and preventing dangerous behaviors such as distracted driving.
Taking this information into consideration, many states have enacted graduated licensing programs over the years that allow young drivers to get the experience they need, while keeping them restricted from such things as late-night driving, driving with multiple passengers that will distract them, or driving while using a cellphone. These graduated programs have proven to dramatically reduce the death rate of teenagers. However, car accidents are still a common cause of death amongst teens.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Transportation, teen drivers are four times more likely to be involved in a car accident compared to adults. Car accidents are the leading cause of death amongst teenagers. Every day there are news reports of young and inexperienced drivers causing crashes and fatal accidents because they were not focusing on the road. National transportation officials and safety advocates agree that driving laws need to be tougher, especially for young and inexperienced drivers.
These agencies and safety advocates are all commending President Obama for signing a new transportation bill that will protect new drivers and everyone else who is on the road. The new legislation offers incentives to states that implement stricter graduated licensing programs and distracted driving laws in the next few years.
Grants totaling $46 million are being offered to states that either strengthen existing distracted driver programs or develop and implement new programs to target young drivers. An additional $27 million will be awarded to states than ban cellphone use and other devices commonly interfering with drivers. With the new legislation in place, and additional funding for education and training, our roads will hopefully become safer for everyone.
Source: Kaiser Health News, “New Federal Transportation Law Encourages Stricter Teen Driving Regs,” Michelle Andrews, July 30, 2012