Getting a driver’s license is an exciting milestone for a teenager, but driving can be particularly dangerous for inexperienced drivers. In 2009, 3000 teens between the ages of 15-19 were killed in the U.S. in motor vehicle accidents and, a year earlier, a staggering 350,000 young adults reported to emergency rooms after sustaining injuries in cars.
There are many factors contributing to teen motor vehicle accidents such as driver inexperience, driving with other teen passengers, night time driving, not wearing seatbelts, and distracted driving.
To make driving safer for teens, improvements to driver’s education and licensing policies go a long way in preventing needless injury and death from auto accidents. One example is graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems that many states have adopted including Iowa. GDL aims to reduce risk factors and research has proven their effectiveness in preventing fatal accidents from occurring.
GDL’s grant driving privileges in stages, so that drivers can gain experience under low risk conditions. As teens move through the stages, they are given more privileges such as driving at night or having passengers in the car. With a comprehensive graduated driving license in place, states can cut the rate of teen auto accident death and injury significantly.
Teenagers trying to obtain a driver’s license in the state of Iowa are subject to a graduated licensing requirement. Teens can acquire their learners permit as young as 14, but must meet several requirements such as passing a written exam, attending drivers education and acquiring the needed hours of driving with a designated licensed driver without incident, before moving on to an intermediate license.
Once they reach the intermediate level at the minimum age of 16, independent driving privileges are given, but teens must comply with specific rules such as limiting passengers and driving during permitted hours, while continuing to acquire valuable supervised instruction for a certain period before applying for a full license, no earlier than age 17.
The Iowa GDL program holds up well to The Center of Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, recommendations, which include:
Getting a driver’s license is considered a rite of passage as teen’s transition from childhood to becoming adults. Keeping them safe it is important to provide them with driver’s education and sensible licensing policies to help prevent car accidents from occurring.
If you or a family member has been injured in an Iowa car accident, contact the Des Moines personal injury Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for immediate assistance at 515-283-2116.
Source: www.cdc.gov, “Policy Impact: Teen Driver Safety” accessed September 25, 2017.
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