Stricter teen driving laws may save lives and money

In our last post we discussed a car accident in which a 17-year-old driver lost control of his car in Brentwood. This was just one of many recent area car accidents attributable to inexperienced teen drivers. Car accidents are the leading killer of Nashville area teens and safety advocates say that lax laws may to be blame for the around 2,000 unnecessary car accident deaths attributed to teen drivers every year.

A recent study indicates that tougher restrictions on teen drivers may reduce the number of car accidents in Nashville and around the country. The new study was funded by the Allstate Foundation and indicates that tougher restrictions on teen driving licenses could save as much as $13 billion per year in insurance and personal injury costs.

The study concludes that more states should adopt graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws which restrict licenses until teens turn 18-years-old. GDL laws also include restrictions on the amount of passengers allowed in cars driven by teens. Many GDL laws also prohibit teens from being involved in risky driving situations by themselves such as night time driving or driving while texting.

Teen crashes cause over $38 billion annually and the universal implementation of GDL laws is expected to make a $13.6 billion dent in this number every year the study says. Teen driving car accidents are also linked to 81,000 teen deaths from 2000 to 2009.

"What's worse is that these deaths are avoidable," said Vicky Dinges, vice president of public social responsibility for Allstate, which funded the study.

Source: MSNBC, "Study: Tougher teen driving laws would save lives, money," M. Alex Johnson, Dec. 6, 2011

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