Itasca, IL – Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens in Michigan. Since the state first introduced its Graduated Driver Licensing system in, 667 young people – under the age of 21 – have died in motor vehicle crashes involving teen drivers. As a state that once led the nation in teen driver safety, Michigan now has one of the weakest GDL systems in the nation. With H.B. 4493, Michigan has an opportunity to strengthen its GDL system at little or no cost to the state.
The National Safety Council is urging Michigan legislators and parents to support House Bill 4493 to protect Michigan teens and others on the roadways. The bill will improve the state’s Graduated Driver Licensing system, which will save lives and millions of dollars by reducing medical costs.
H.B. 4493 would make the following improvements to GDL level 2 driver components:
- Limit non-family member passengers to no more than one younger than 21. Immediate family members are exempt. Michigan is one of only eight states without a GDL passenger limit, despite the fact that teen passengers dramatically increase crash risk.
- Restrict nighttime driving starting at 10 p.m. and ending at 5 a.m., except to drive to and from work. Nighttime driving is the deadliest time for inexperienced drivers.
- Prohibit use of cell phones or wireless devices while operating a vehicle. Talking on a cell phone increases crash risk by four times.
“As a Michigan resident, a father and a traffic safety advocate, I strongly support H.B. 4493,” said David Teater, Spring Lake resident and NSC senior director of Transportation Initiatives. “Strong GDL systems are proven to reduce crashes involving teen drivers by 40 percent because strong GDL systems eliminate exposure to risks known to cause the most teen crashes. A stronger GDL system in Michigan will keep not only our teens safer, but others on the road.”
Studies show 65 percent of fatalities involving teen drivers are other drivers or pedestrians, not the teens themselves. With H.B. 4493, Michigan can save 55 lives and $1 billion in costs associated with teen crashes annually with an improved GDL system. Studies show that parents overwhelmingly support GDL. NSC encourages Michigan citizens to contact their elected officials and show their strong support of HB 4493. NSC asks Michigan representatives and senators to quickly pass HB 4493.
The National Safety Council (www.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.