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The IIHS Suggests Toughening Up Pennsylvania’s Graduated License Program

Pennsylvania’s graduated licensing (GDL) program has been identified by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) as one of the best GDL programs in the nation.  In a recent study, the IIHS honed in on five components of GDL’s that can improve safety among teen drivers.  Although PA meets many of the requirements, there is still room for improvement.

In March, we offered detailed information about the GDL after the USA Today did a featured story on teen driving.  In 2010, Governor Tom Corbett tightened the restrictions for teen drivers by enhancing the GDL.  However, the IIHS believes that by adding even stricter requirements in Pennsylvania, the state could see a 27% reduction in teen accidents.

In 2010, there were 27,149 crashes involving drivers between the ages of 16 and 20.  There were 57 car crash deaths in accidents in 2010 that involved a 16- or 17-year-old driver.

The IIHS focused on five key components for the GDL: permit age, practice driving hours, license age, and night driving and teen passenger restrictions.  The institute believes if each state enacted the toughest restrictions of each component “over 500 lives could be saved and more than 9,500 collisions could be prevented each year.”

“Even the best states can do better,” says Anne McCartt, Institute senior vice president for research. “There’s room for improvement across the board, and states could see immediate reductions in fatal crashes and collision claims as soon as the beefed-up provisions are in force.”

The IIHS recommends the following restrictions:

  • Permit age:  16-years-old
  • Practice driving hours: 65 hours
  • License age: 17-years-old
  • Night driving: 8pm start of restriction
  • Teen passenger restrictions: No teen passengers allowed

Pennsylvania is the only state to meet the 65 hour practice driving hours restriction.  PA also meets the 16-year-old permit age.  Teens in PA can get their driver’s license when they reach 16-years and 6 months.  According to IIHS by waiting until 17-years-old, there will be a 7% reduction in fatal crashes.  By moving the state’s night time driving restriction back to 8:00 pm from 11:00 pm, PA teen drivers would be involved in 7% fewer crashes.  Finally, the IIHS recommends not allowing any teen passengers to ride with an intermediate stage driver.  PA would see a 16% reduction in fatal teen crashes if this was changed.

“We encourage states to sharpen the core elements of their teen driver laws, particularly restrictions on night driving and young passengers,” McCartt says. “Raising the licensing age would help in many states, but we realize that this isn’t always a politically popular option.”

Our truck accident attorneys applaud the state government for enacting strict driving laws for our young drivers.  We support tougher restrictions if it will help keep our teens safer on the highways.  We encourage parents and adults to continue to reinforce safe driving behaviors in their teens.

About Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys

Munley Law is a Pennsylvania accident and injury law firm that represents car accident victims and their families throughout the state of Pennsylvania and the Northeast, including those injured in accidents that involve speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, fatigued driving, aggressive driving and careless driving in hazardous weather conditions. The Pennsylvania personal injury law firm’s additional practice areas include trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, toxic chemicals, workplace injuries, nursing home litigation and other serious accidents. To contact the law firm, use the firm’s online contact form.

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