Auto Club Says Calif. Teen Driving Law Could Prevent Nearly 100,000 Crashes in Next Decade

June 22, 2001

According to the Automobile Club of California California’s Graduated Driver Licensing Law (GDL), one of the toughest teen driving laws in the nation, will have a major impact on the number one killer of teens — motor vehicle crashes — over the next decade.

A new statistical analysis for the Auto Club by the national AAA projects that the law will prevent more than 93,000 crashes among 16 and 17 year-olds, prevent more than 30,000 deaths and injuries and save $700 million in accident investigation, insurance and medical costs over the next decade.

Today’s GDL analysis was released as part of a progress report on AAA’s “Licensed to Learn: A Safety Program for New Drivers.” Launched in 1997, “Licensed to Learn” promotes enactment of GDL laws in all states and is advocating improvements in the quality of driver training and education. To date 45 states have enacted GDL laws.

California’s GDL law requires teens to:

— Complete 50 hours of behind the wheel training including 10 hours at night.

— Not carry passengers under the age of 20 for the first six months of a provisional license unless accompanied by a licensed driver 25 years or older.

— Not drive between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. for the first year of a provisional license.

An analysis done by the Auto Club in August 2000 showed that GDL had reduced teen driver fatalities and injuries 20 percent statewide between 1998, when it became law, and 1999.

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