Will Stronger Laws Reduce the Number of Teen Car Accidents?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Will Stronger Laws Reduce the Number of Teen Car Accidents?

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

Attorney for Teen Drivers in Chicago

Research studies have already shown the effectiveness of using graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs – in fact, most other states rely on these for new drivers as a way to reduce teen car accidents and fatalities. While states have adopted GDL laws, the efficiency of these programs and their ability to prevent accidents has not necessarily been promising. Most states currently use a three-stage GDL regulation, which requires age minimums, supervised practice hours, and restrictions on nighttime driving, as well as passenger counts. However, experts still argue that more lives could be saved by increasing the requirements even further.

How GDL Programs Work

If you are not familiar with GDL programs, then you may have received your license prior to 1996. A GDL allows a young driver to gain privileges for driving as they progress through three phases:

  1. Learners stage
  2. Intermediate stage
  3. Full licensing

In the state of Illinois, the GDL laws require:

  • Age 15 – A driver can obtain a learner’s permit as long as he or she has parental consent and enrolls in a state-approved driver’s education course. The permit is required for a minimum of nine months, and the driver must complete 50 hours of supervised driving – as well as 10 supervised night hours – before he or she can move on.
  • Age 16 – This is when a driver will complete the learner’s permit stage and move forward. But, drivers cannot graduate if they have any traffic violations, or are arrested for underage drinking and driving violations (including driving under the influence of drugs). During this phase, the driver must follow all nighttime requirements and learner’s permit restrictions for one year. This includes not being allowed to have more than one passenger under the age of 20 (unless he or she is a family member).
  • Age 18 – Drivers who have exhibited stellar driving skills and have a violation-free record for six months before their 18th birthday will be able to apply for full licensing. Drivers are still prohibited from using mobile devices behind the wheel until age 19, and texting is prohibited for all ages and all license levels.

Stricter Laws Equal Less Accidents?

Illinois has one of the stricter GDL programs compared to other states. In fact, most states allow full licensing at age 16, and few have nighttime or passenger restrictions. Safety experts have argued that these GDL programs are too lenient, and IIHS has already estimated that 500 deaths and more than 9,500 accidents could be prevented if GDL laws were increased to the following:

  • Minimum permit age is increased to age 16
  • Minimum provisional license moved to age 17
  • Minimum hours of supervised driving are increased to 65 or more hours
  • Nighttime driving restrictions start at 8:00pm (instead of the standard 10:00pm)
  • Passengers are not allowed with a teen driver, regardless of familial status

Was Your Teen Driver Injured in an Accident?

If your teen driver was seriously injured in a car accident, then you may be able to seek compensation for damages against the at-fault driver. You will first need to have your case assessed by an Illinois car accident attorney at Malman Law. Contact us now for a free, no-obligation consultation at (888) 625-6265 or fill out our online contact form with your questions, and an attorney will be in touch with you shortly.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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