Graduated Licensing Offers Big Benefits, Study Shows

The Allstate Foundation and the National Safety Council released the License to Save Report on Dec. 6. They hope it will be part of the discussion of a new multi-year highway funding bill in Congress.

The Allstate Foundation and the National Safety Council have released the License to Save Report, which provides strong evidence of the value of graduated licensing programs. If all 50 states enacted comprehensive laws, 2,000 lives and $13.6 billion annually could be saved, it says.

The report came out Dec. 6 -- as Congress continues to consider a new multi-year highway funding law that might include safety elements, as in the past.

The foundation and NSC said 16-year-old drivers have a crash rate twice as high as those of 18-to-19-year-old drivers and four times that of older drivers. Graduated licensing helps new drivers gain experience under supervised conditions. The comprehensive laws they advocate include nighttime driving restrictions, passenger limits, cell phone and texting bans, mandatory behind-the-wheel driving time, setting 16 as the minimum age for a learner's permit, and making 18 the age for full licensure. These have cut teenage driving related deaths by as much as 40 percent in some states.

"Teen driving deaths are a real public health crisis," said Vicky Dinges, vice president of public social responsibility at Allstate. "What's worse is that these deaths are avoidable. We can take very simple, common-sense steps that would protect young drivers across the country. Our Allstate agents see firsthand the dangers for young drivers on the road and as a company, we are committed to putting an end to this epidemic."

"Over the last 20 years, graduated driver licensing laws have saved an estimated 15,000 lives. These laws can save thousands of American lives and save billions of dollars for consumers, businesses and state and local governments," said NSC President/CEO Janet Froetscher. "Our elected officials do not have many opportunities during their careers to take action that will save thousands of lives and billions of dollars in one legislative action. This is one of those times."

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