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National Graduated Driver Licensing Program Could Save 2,000 Lives Anually

Our Chicago car accident attorneys saw that MSNBC.com reported that a recent study found that, “nationwide restrictions on teenage driver’s licenses could save 2,000 lives and billions of dollars each year.” The National Safety Council published the report, which specifically examined what could happen if the Graduated Driver Licensing program was implemented nationally.

GDL laws were established to protect younger drivers from serious injury. They say that teenager cannot get their driver’s license until 18 years of age, that younger drivers cannot use cellphones when driving, establish a curfew for younger drivers, and restrict the number of passengers. Some states’ have enacted laws that require some or most of the GDL principles, but the goal is to make them mandatory nationwide. The potential $13.6 million dollar in savings accounts for medical costs, insurance costs, police and emergency ambulance costs, car damages, and costs to employers.

According to CyberDriveIllinois.com, there are three phases in the Illinois Graduated Driver Licensing program. The first phase is the Permit Phase for drivers who are 15 years old. In order to require a permit, parent or guardian consent is necessary, and the teenager must be enrolled a certified driver education course that has a written and visual exam. There is also a curfew that ends at 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends. Before a driver can move onto the Initial Licensing Phase, they need to have their license for at least nine months with a driving minimum of 50 hours. They may also have only one passenger in the front seat that must be the parent or guardian, and only the number of passengers that there is room for in the back seat. And finally, cellphone use is not allowed.

During the Initial Licensing Phase, the driver must have completed 50 hours of driving practice and a certified driver’s education course. During this phase, they may obtain their driver’s license. The same curfew as the Permit Phase applies, and all passengers (driver included) under the age of 19-years-old are required to wear seatbelts. For the first year that the driver has their license, or until the driver turns 18 years old, they are only allowed to have one passenger in the car who is under 20 years of age (unless the additional passengers are a sibling or child). Cellphone use is still not allowed.

Finally, drivers between the ages 18 and 20 years old have reached the Full Licensing Phase. This means that there are no age restrictions, except that drivers under the age of 19 years old may not use cellphones. There is also no curfew.

Our Illinois auto accident lawyers support this program, a sentiment shared by most parents. According to the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety a 2010 survey found that parents reportedly like stronger licensing policies that offer curfews and age restrictions. They also think that offering longer learning periods can be beneficial. Our Chicago auto accident lawyers encourage the GDL program and all that it offers, as well as making it mandatory nationally, to keep young drivers safe on the road.