Rancho Cucamonga, California (WiredPRNews.com) — Last week, advocates gathered on Capitol Hill to voice support for proposed federal legislation that would establish uniform standards for state driver’s licensure requirements. The bill, known as the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STANDUP) Act, outlines more stringent requirements for graduated driver’s licensing (GDL) programs that could be adopted by states, which, by doing so, would become eligible for federal grant money to be used toward law enforcement training and the publication of education materials.
If states adopt the programs and they prove successful in lowering crash rates, consumers could ultimately see a decrease in car insurance coverage prices for younger drivers. This group of motorists currently sees some of the highest rates for insurance policies, mostly for the same reason that provoked the creation of the STANDUP Act.
Statistics show that younger drivers pose a significantly greater risk to auto insurance companies and the rest of the motorists on the road than do other segments of the population. According to the text of the bill, “teenage drivers who are 16 years of age have a motor vehicle crash rate that is almost 10 times the crash rate for drivers between 30 and 60 years of age.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is one of many advocates for the implementation of graduated licensing programs. In a 2008 publication, the NHTSA reported that, three years after Oregon implemented a GDL program, the crash rate for 16-year-olds in that state had decreased by 29 percent, and the rate for 17-year-olds had decreased by 16 percent. A number of other states have reportedly also shown improvement in crash rates after the programs’ implementation. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 49 states and the District of Columbia already have three-stage systems.
But the more-extensive provisions that STANDUP is composed of currently are in place only in Delaware. These provisions include an at-least-six-month-long learner’s permit stage that commences at age 16, prohibits nighttime driving and bans the use of communication devices while driving; and an at-least-six-month-long intermediate stage that is in effect until the driver reaches 18 years of age, during which the driver is subject to the learner’s permit restrictions and also is prohibited from driving with a non-familial passenger under 21 if there is not a licensed, at-least-21-year-old driver in the car.
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