Alabama Teens Increase Accident Risks by Skipping GDL Course

These days, there are an alarming number of teens who are delaying getting their driver’s license. While there are many factors for this delay, one of the most common consequences is that they’re at higher risks for an accident because they skip their state’s Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) program.According to CBS Philly, a study recently conducted by officials with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety determined that less than 45 percent of teens ages 18 to 20 got their driver’s license within the 12 months of the minimum age for licensing in their state.

Our Montgomery car accident lawyers understand that our state’s GDL program allows young drivers to safely gain driving experience before obtaining full driving privileges. Most programs include three stages: Leaner Stage, Intermediate Stage and the Full Privilege Stage. When these stages are not completed, drivers step behind the wheel with little to no experience, and thereby increase everyone’s risk for an accident.

On the other hand, about 54 percent of 18- to 20-year-old drivers got their driver’s license before their 18th birthday.

“With one in three teens waiting to get their license until they turn 18, there’s a segment of this generation missing opportunities to learn under the safeguards that GDL provides,” said AAA’s Peter Kissinger.

For this reason, officials are asking state lawmakers to make tougher laws for first-time drivers, regardless of how old they are when they apply.

“Researchers and policymakers should examine whether existing state GDL systems — can be modified to improve safety for these young adult novice drivers,” said Justin McNaull with AAA.

As it stands now, there is no state that requires first-time drivers over the age of 18 to pass any kind of tougher test, or complete a program with restrictions. At the same time, mandatory license retests are either used sparingly for elderly drivers, or are not even used at all.

It’s critical for drivers to undergo the state’s GDL program, regardless of the age at whcih they chose to begin driving. With the state’s program, drivers are eased into the full responsibility of driving through a number of restrictions to help focus on the fundamentals. These restrictions include curfews and supervised driving requirements.

Unfortunately, car accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for residents 34-years-old and younger. Many of these accidents are purely the result of careless maneuvers behind the wheel, or a lack of education. It’s critical that drivers are taught safe habits from the start — regardless of at which at they choose to get their driver’s license.

The truth of the matter is that GDL programs are highly effective in what they’re designed to do: allowing drivers to gain experience and receive useful lessons on driving without being placed in full high-risk situations.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a traffic collision, call Allred & Allred P.C. at 334.396.9200 to speak with a Montgomery accident attorney today.

More Blog Entries:

Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drugged Driving Causes Controversy, Alabama Injury Lawyer Blog, July 17, 2013

Smartphones Sending Drivers through Red Lights?, Alabama Injury Lawyer Blog, June 20, 2013

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