Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council announced its support for Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws to save lives, especially of teen drivers. Representatives of NSC’s 50,000 member organizations adopted this policy statement recently at their annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif.
The policy, available on NSC's Website, encourages states to adopt a GDL model for teen drivers under 18 years old with three stages: 1) A Learners’ Permit period of six months or longer during which teens drive with a supervising adult; 2) A Provisional license stage with specific restrictions for unsupervised driving; and 3) Full licensure. The NSC model includes these recommendations for Provisional licenses:
- Unsupervised driving only before 10 p.m.,
- No passengers under age 18,
- Zero tolerance for alcohol use with mandatory penalties,
- Mandatory seat belt use, and
- No use of cell phones or text messaging devices.
“We have documented the effectiveness of GDL in reducing teen crashes, injuries and fatalities,” said Janet Froetscher, President & CEO of NSC. “Most states now have some element of GDL and several states have developed comprehensive GDL systems that address the principal areas of teen driver risk. Scientific evaluations report that comprehensive GDL systems have contributed to a 20 percent reduction in teen fatalities in the studied states.
“However,” she continued, “no state has a GDL system that matches the NSC ‘best practice’ model in every respect. We developed the model to guide state legislators looking to improve their GDL laws and save even more lives in their states.”
For example, Froetscher said many states have nighttime driving restrictions that begin later than 10 p.m. or have passenger restrictions that allow one or more passengers in vehicles driven by teens during their Provisional licensing stage.
The NSC policy includes two additional provisions: 1) Calling on the U.S. Congress to provide financial incentives to states to enact comprehensive GDL systems; and 2) Encouraging parents to implement this ‘best practice’ GDL model for their own teens regardless of their particular state laws.
“NSC will continue to educate parents, state legislators and Congress to understand how they each can play a role in applying GDL best practices to reduce the risks of teen crashes,” Froetscher said.
The National Safety Council (nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.