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Study Examines Teen Driver Licensing Laws

Our Chicago car wreck lawyers read in the Battle Creek Enquirer recently that the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study on the topic of tightening the drivers licensing process for teens. Results showed that some teens wait to get their licenses until they are 18 years old to get around the supervised-driving requirements that are necessary for receiving a license at 16. However, avoiding the supervised-driving requirements results in more inexperienced older teens on the road, and due to the fact that they are less experienced, they may be more likely to be involved in an accident.

The study examined crashes that involved teens ranging from 16 years old to19 years old, over a period of 21 years. The study showed that there was a decline in crashes in the 16-year-old range over 21 years, however, there were more fatal crashes involving 18 year olds. This led the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to consider extending licensing requirements for the 16-year-old age group to all first-time drivers under the age of 21. Some requirements would include two completed class levels of driver’s education, a skill and road tests, and 50 hours of logged experience with a responsible adult in the car.

The Journal of the American Medical Association determined that “graduated driver licensing programs are designed to reduce crashes involving teenagers by delaying full licensure while allowing beginners to obtain initial driving experience under lower-risk conditions.” It continues on to say that the graduated driver licensing (GDL) well reinforced the driver’s education classes by adding certain restrictions for new drivers.

Teen drivers are inexperienced; however, they often feel comfortable enough on the road to allow distractions into the car. Many teens admit to texting while driving talking with passengers in the car, or simply not having their mind and focus on the road at all times. It is especially critical for new and inexperienced drivers to stay focused and avoid all distractions to reduce their risk for accidents.

Our Illinois car accident attorneys have discussed issues related to teen driving before, and this study continues to support that teens should be extra cautious when driving due to a lack of experience. We support the idea of extending licensing requirements to all new drivers, not just 16 year olds in order to prevent Teen drivers, as discussed in the study, can reduce the risk of a car accident related fatality by being willing to get more hours under their belt while learning, by taking driver’s education classes seriously, and most importantly by staying focused and alert when finally on the road.