As per a nationwide study, the strict driver's license laws have resulted in lesser fatal crashes among 16-year-olds although more fatal accidents were found among 18-year-olds.
The study has suggested that the restrictions have not produced the desired effects. Though the intention is correct, yet the programs, which release driving privileges in stages, have only resulted in shifting the status of inexperienced drivers from younger to older teens.
It is the combination of immaturity and inexperience that is making teen drivers specifically susceptible to motor vehicle accidents.
The program details are varying considerably in each state. They characteristically have put a minimum age to earn a driver's permit and a driver's license. There is also the requirement that a certain number of hours behind the wheel while supervised by an adult are completed.
For assessing the value of such programs, a team led by Scott V. Masten of the Department of Motor Vehicles Research and Development Branch in Sacramento examined data on more than 131,000 fatal crashes which involved teen drivers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia between 1986 and 2007.
The study checked about states with the most restrictive graduated licensing programs involving supervised driving time as well as having night-driving restrictions and passenger limitations.
A 26 percent reduction in the rate of fatal crashes involving 16-year-old drivers compared with states without any restrictions was found in the study. However, the rate of fatal crashes among 18-year-old drivers in those states jumped 12 percent compared with the states without restrictions.
The study compared drivers in states with strong graduated licensing programs with those in states with weak programs. The rate of fatal crashes among 16-year-old drivers was 16 percent lower but was 10 percent higher among 18-year-old drivers.
The study was published in Journal of the American Medical Association.