Nearly 70 lives could be saved in Alabama car accidents by the implementation of a stricter graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws, according to USA TODAY. According to a recent report from the Allstate Foundation and the National Safety Council (NSC), approximately 2,000 lives could be saved in just a year if all states were to enact a more thorough GDL program.
"We knew that when states pass good laws, lives are saved and a lot of money is saved. We'd just never done the analysis," says John Ulczycki from the NSC.
Our Montgomery car accident lawyers understand that this newly released report was put out just in time to reach Congress before they make big decisions regarding a multi-year highway and transit-spending bill. This bill would offer a portion of the allotted $25 million to states who are looking to toughen up their GDL program. Stricter GDL programs are associated with lower teen accident rates.
Traffic accidents are still the number one cause of death for teens in our country. Per mile driven, these young motorists are four times more likely to get into an accident than the drivers of older age groups.
Alabama's Current GDL Program:
-Stage One, Learner's Permit: Must be at least 15-years-old and must pass a written exam. Drivers who meet these qualifications can drive under the supervision of a parent or a guardian or a licensed driver who is over the age of 21.
-Stage Two, Restricted License: A driver may apply for this license once they've turned 16 and have held a learner's permit for at least six months. These drivers are unable to drive between midnight and 6:00 a.m. unless traveling to or from school, work or a religious sponsored event. Drivers are allowed to drive unaccompanied during emergencies as well. A driver cannot ride with more than three passengers in addition to the supervising driver.
-Stage Three, Unrestricted License: A driver can apply for this license at 18 and must have held a restricted licensed for at least six months. At this stage, all restrictions have been lifted.
According to the Allstate and NSC report, a good GDL program has seven components. Our state's program has a few of the components, but not all of them.
Components that are suggested for Alabama's GDL program:
-A minimum age of 16 to get a learner's permit.
-A minimum of 30 hours supervised driving to complete during the learner's stage.
-A minimum age of 16 and a half to apply for an intermediate license.
-Restricted drivers should not be allowed to drive with more than one non-family passenger in the vehicle.
Parents are urged to speak with the teen drivers in their lives to reiterate the importance of safe driving habits. Through the holiday season we see more traffic on our roadways. Increased traffic means an increased risk for car accidents, especially for teen drivers. Please be safe over the holiday period and be cautious behind the wheel.