A new report in Connecticut indicates a significant reduction in crashes causing injury or death in which a 16- or 17-year-old was driving. The report credits the state’s graduated driver licensing program as a principal reason for the decline. Since 2004, there has been an 84 percent decrease in fatalities for 16- and 17-year-old drivers and their passengers and a 64 percent decrease since 2008. Despite the success of the graduated license program, DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala said statistics show more young people are choosing to skip the rules associated with a graduated driver’s license and wait until they turn 18.
According to Forbes magazine, truck driving is one of the country’s ten deadliest jobs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teens are the country’s deadliest drivers. And Congress will soon put them together if it passes a new rider to the federal highway construction bill. True, teens are already able to drive big rigs within most states in the Union. Currently, however, federal law prevents them from driving across state lines in interstate commerce. The controversial provision was inserted in the 1,000-plus-page bill by the Senate Commerce Committee, chaired by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). “Under current federal law, a 20-year-old holder of a commercial driver’s license in New York City can drive a truck to Buffalo, but not across the Hudson to Newark,” Hill said. “Similarly, a driver in Philadelphia can drive to Pittsburgh but not down the road to Wilmington or across a bridge to Camden. This legislation sets up a pilot program (with restrictions that include a prohibition on operating more than 100 miles from the border of the licensing state) so that states could consider limited changes to current restrictions on younger commercial drivers that would also have to secure the approval of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation before they could go into effect.”
A teen driver program that gradually gives teens full driving privileges is credited with reducing teen driver fatalities by 54.2% in Illinois. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 15 year olds must log 50 driving hours and nine months with a permit before taking the test for their license. After that, they are subject to further time-of-day and passenger restrictions. The National Safety Council recommends a graduated driving program for all teen drivers.