A recent study has found that the two states with the strictest teen graduated licensing programs-Connecticut and New York-also enjoy the lowest teen crash fatality rates. The findings show that graduated licensing programs, or GDLs, help reduce teen collisions and
Graduated Licensing Shown Effective
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Data Loss Institute found that New York and Connecticut have the lowest teen fatality rates in the country and the strictest graduated licensing programs. Strong GDL programs can reduce fatalities and contribute to lower collision claims for insured drivers 16 to 17 years of age.
Graduated licenses allow teens to slowly become accustomed to driving and practice safe driving habits. Effective GDL programs include a learner’s permit period, when new drivers must drive with a parent or driving instructor in the car. After the permit period, new drivers receive a restricted license that limits the number of passengers they may carry and prohibits nighttime driving. After a period of time of successful driving with a restricted license, drivers are issued a full license.
Connecticut: Close to GDL Best Practices
The IIHS study found that Connecticut’s GDL program is the closest in the nation to recommended best practices. In Connecticut, teen drivers apply for their learner’s permits at age 16. They must drive with a parent or driving instructor for at least 40 hours. Learner’s permit holders must hold the permit for six months. Driver’s education is mandatory for drivers under age 18 and reduces the permit period to four months.
After these requirements are complete, new drivers may apply for a restricted license. This license does not allow teens to drive at night or with passengers their own age. The nighttime restriction is removed when the driver turns 18 and the passenger restrictions are lifted no earlier than 17 years and four months.
Connecticut already has the best GDL program in the country, however, the IIHS report found that it could improve its teen crash statistics even more by increasing its initial driving age, the number of required practice hours and lengthening the restrictions on nighttime driving. With these changes, the IIHS believes Connecticut could reduce its
fatal crash rate and number of collision claims by 17 and 13 percent, respectively.
While Connecticut can be happy with the progress it has made reducing teen crash fatalities, it should not be tempted to rest on its laurels. Tweaks to the already strong GDL program may reduce fatalities further. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash involving a negligent teen driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss possible remedies.