Continuing on with this week’s theme of National Teen Driver Safety Week, our Chicago car accident attorneys thought it would be beneficial to discuss the Graduated Driver Licensing program. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recognizes that drivers between 16 and 17 years old have a very high rate of fatal deaths related to car accidents. The two leading factors to this alarming truth are that teenage drivers are often very inexperienced, and do not necessarily behave in the same way that experienced drivers would.
In order to address this issue, some states have created a Graduated Driver Licensing program that has three stages, and helps teens to avoid risks on the road. A majority of the states have implemented this system, and studies show that, “adopting GDL laws will lead to substantial decreases of crashes for this age group- anywhere between 20 and 50 percent.” This is a significant decrease, and our Chicago accident lawyers believe that all states should consider a GDL model.
According to CyberDriveIllinois.com, the three phases of Graduated Driver Licensing includes the permit phase, the initial licensing phase, and the full licensing phase. The permit phase requires a parent or guardian in the passenger seat while a teen is learning to drive. There is a curfew in Illinois for permit phase drivers, and the teen must drive with a permit for at least nine months. Also, before a teenager can get their initial license, they must drive with their parents or guardian for at least 50 hours and must wear seat belts.
The next phase, the initial licensing phase, is completed once the teenager has participated in a driver’s education class, and parents have certified that they have completed 50 hours of practice with a parent. Also, for the first year of driving with a license, the driver can only have one passenger at a time, and must not obtain any convictions for at least six months. Finally, the full licensing phase occurs once drivers are 18 years of age. At this pint, there are no restrictions related to age, except that drivers under the age of 19 may not use a cell phone.
The GDL program not only helps to teach teens the basics of driving, but also ensures that they spend a good deal of time learning to drive with an adult in the car. This experience coupled with driver’s education courses where they learn about other risks involved in driving, such as drinking and driving, distracted driving, and aggressive driving, help teens to become more well-rounded drivers. Our Illinois car crash lawyers support a Graduated Driver Licensing model and hope that all states will eventually adopt it so we can continue to see a decrease in the amount of car crash related fatalities amongst teenagers.