There is a movement in the United States Senate right now that seeks to institute a nationwide graduated driver licensing law (GDL) to replace the varying state systems. Forty-nine states have currently have a three-phase GDL system on the books; North Dakota is the lone exception. Studies show that such systems have drastic effects on roadway safety, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Massachusetts for example, implemented their system three years ago, and has since realized a 75% decrease in the number of roadway fatalities for drivers under 18 years old, and a 38% drop in injury crashes.
The legislation is being modeled after many state programs that impose a curfew on younger drivers and limit the number of passengers allowed in cars of younger drivers. There is also a consideration of raising the minimum age to obtain a learner’s permit to 16; federal highway funding would be tied into the provision.
There is some consternation from rural areas with regard to the driving age, as many of the areas see kids driving as early as 12 or 13 years old as the farming lifestyle often necessitates.
The IHS estimates that raising the minimum age would cause a 13% reduction in fatalities of 15- to 17-year-olds.
– By: Stephen Calogera