Teen Driver Safety Week Provides Opportunity for National Conversation on Licensing

Resource Type

October 17, 2016

Contact: Amadie Hart, ahart@ghsa.org

Teen Driver Safety Week Provides Opportunity
for National Conversation on Licensing

Report recommends extending restricted teen driver licenses through age 21

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 16-22) kicks off, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) encourages states, traffic safety advocates and parents to look for opportunities to expand successful teen driving policies and programs to reverse the recent 10 percent spike in teen driver-involved fatal crashes.

Last week, GHSA released a report, Mission Not Accomplished: Teen Safe Driving, the Next Chapter, funded by The Ford Motor Company Fund, which found that from 2005 to 2014, more progress had been made in reducing fatal crashes for younger teen drivers (age 15 to 17) than for their older counterparts (age 18 to 20). A key recommendation in the report calls on states to extend teen driving restrictions, commonly known as graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws, through age 21. Currently only one state, New Jersey, has such a policy.

Report author Pam Fischer, Principal of Pam Fischer Consulting, said, "With last year's spike in teen driver-involved traffic deaths, it is critical that we examine teen driving data to identify how we can get the numbers once again going in the right direction and reduce deaths and injuries. The most effective response by states would be to extend graduated licensing requirements to all teens until age 21."

GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins added, "The new study found that teens are more likely to be involved in fatal crashes, and that one in three is not obtaining a driver's license until age 18. Given those facts, states should consider strengthening their teen licensing requirements. Short of that, parents and educators need to be reminded that we aren't done protecting our teen drivers once they turn 18. In fact, the data indicate that it's the 18- to 20-year olds that warrant our concern."

The report examined 10 years of data (encompassing 2005-2014) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). It is available online at: http://ghsa.org/resources/mission-not-accomplished-teen-safe-driving-next-chapter. GHSA will hold a webinar to discuss the report's key findings and recommendations on October 20 at 2 p.m. EDT. Register at http://bit.ly/ghsateenwebinar16. In addition, a list of Graduated Driver Licensing Laws can be found on the GHSA website: http://ghsa.org/state-laws/issues/teen%20and%20novice%20drivers

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About GHSA
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.

About Ford Driving Skills for Life
Ford Driving Skills for Life was established in 2003 by Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association, and a panel of safety experts to teach newly licensed teens and parents the necessary skills for safe driving beyond what they learn in standard driver education programs. The basic premise behind Ford Driving Skills for Life is to provide a step in the learning process, providing new skills and information not currently shared with newly licensed drivers in the basic driver education courses. The program has trained more than 1 million individuals in safe driving practices. It is offered in 34 countries, and hands-on driving clinics have been conducted in all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. For more information visit http://www.drivingskillsforlife.com/.