Drivers Age Restrictions Don’t Seem to Be Working

A new study reports that despite tougher restrictions on new drivers aged 16 to 17 the number of fatal accidents has just shifted from the 16-17 year old bracket to the 18-19 year old bracket when driving restrictions become loosened.

Graduated driver licensing programs, as they are known, bar young drivers from certain higher-risk situations — such as being on the road at night, talking on cellphones and driving with passengers — until they gain more experience. Yet researchers feel that this still does not compensate for the immaturity eventually evidenced by young drivers when the restrictions are finally lifted.

Overall, since the first program was enacted in 1996, graduated programs were linked to 1,348 fewer fatal crashes involving 16-year-old drivers and 1,086 more fatal crashes involving 18-year-old drivers. Some feel this may be due to the fact that 18 year olds are simply waiting until they turn 18 to apply for a license in the first place as to bypass all of these restrictions.

According to the California DMV, the rate of 16-year-olds licensed to drive unsupervised fell from 23% in 1997 to 14% by 2007. As a result, “we have more novices on the roads at ages 18 and 19,” Scott V. Masten said.

(Source: LA Times)

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