Should There Be A National Standard For Teen Drivers' Licenses?

Right now, 42 states allow teens under the age of 16 to get their learner’s permit and seven of those offer permits to 14-year-olds. Additionally, many states have differing rules about when a teen driver can obtain his full driving rights. A handful of Senators are hoping to gather support for a law that would do away with these variances and also raise the permit age nationally to 16.

Writes USA Today:

States that impose major restrictions have seen crash reductions of 10%-30%, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In Massachusetts, fatal crashes involving drivers younger than 18 dropped 75% in the three years after the state implemented tougher restrictions for young drivers; injury crashes involving these drivers fell 38%…

Raising the learner’s permit age to 16 would reduce the fatal crash rate of 15- to 17-year-olds by about 13%, says Anne McCartt, senior vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The proposal, called the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STAND UP) act for new drivers under 21, being put forth by Sens. Chris Dodd, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar would:

•Establish a three-stage process with a learner’s permit and intermediate stage before an unrestricted driver’s license.

•Prohibit unsupervised nighttime driving during the first two stages.

•Prohibit non-emergency use of cellphones and other communications devices during the first two phases.

What do you think:

National standards sought for teen drivers [USA Today]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.