Washington, DC (WiredPRNews.com) A majority of Americans think teenagers are lousy drivers and support federal efforts to standardize state programs that delay full licensure of teen motorists, according to a new survey from Allstate Insurance.
Auto accidents are the leading killer of teens in the U.S., statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate. And research has shown the billions of dollars in economic costs caused each year by teen crashes, as well as the significant impact of accidents on auto insurance rates for teenagers and their families.
Safety experts say graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs lessen those risks by requiring teen drivers to gain experience in supervised and low-risk conditions before being issued full licenses.
Existing programs nationwide require young drivers seeking full driving privileges to pass through three licensing stages:
–A supervised learner’s permit
–An intermediate license, provided the driving test is passed
–A full license after the first two phases are completed
But experts, including the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, say GDL laws vary significantly between states.
“What’s needed now is national leadership in the form of uniform standards for those GDL laws,” Bill Vainisi, Allstate’s senior vice president and deputy general counsel, said in a news release.
Federal legislation introduced this year could standardize GDL programs.
One bill—the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STANDUP) Act—would require states to meet a minimum national standard for GDL programs in order to receive full federal highway funding. Another piece of legislation tied to funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also includes benchmarks for state GDL laws.
Both would set aside $22 million in grants for each of the next two years to beef up GDL standards, with money going to administer teen traffic-safety programs, publish information about new GDL laws and train state officials.
Auto crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers, accounting for one-third of fatalities in that age group, according to the CDC.
Allstate’s phone survey of 1,000 people found that six out of 10 favored setting minimum standards for GDL programs, and more than 80 percent thought poorly of teens’ skills behind the wheel.
To read more about this and other car insurance issues, go to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/quotes/how-accidents-affect/ where you will find informative resource pages and a free-to-use quote-comparison generator that consumers can use to get sample premiums for many vehicle makes and models.