Analysis: Laws Restricting Teen Drivers Doing Little Good

According to a nationwide analysis of car crash data, heavier restrictions on the driving privileges of 16 and 17-year-old drivers haven’t necessarily made the roads safer. Although deadly accidents involving the youngest drivers have fallen, the number of crash fatalities in 18 and 19-year-old drivers has doubled. The implication is that younger drivers, who are forbidden from driving at night or with passengers some states, are simply older when they’re still dangerously inexperienced.

The L.A. Times reports the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that graduated driver licensing programs, which were first instituted in the 1990s, accounted for 1,348 fewer fatal accidents involving 16-year-old drivers but 1,086 more fatalities for 18-year-olds.

The study contradicts findings in a study published last year in the Traffic Injury Prevention journal, which found that states with stronger graduated licensing programs drastically decreased the rates of fatal accidents in younger drivers, while the fatality rates of 18 and 19-year-old drivers remained the same.

Teen driver restrictions a mixed bag [L.A. Times]