STAND UP Act
Reducing deaths among teen drivers is the goal of three Democratic senators who are pushing for a national graduated driver licensing law (GDL) for teens.
The Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STAND UP) Act would affect teen drivers under the age of 21, raising the learner’s permit age to 16 and delaying an unrestricted driver’s license until the teen turns at least 18.
Currently 42 states let a teen driver get his or her permit to begin driving training before the age of 16.
A patchwork of state regulations make teens wait to varying degrees.
One of the toughest was just changed in New Jersey, where teen drivers must display a decal on their license plate designating them as a teen driver with a special decal.
Every state, except North Dakota, graduates the amount of freedoms teen drivers can obtain in tiers.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that raising the age to obtain a permit would reduce fatalities among 15 to 17 year olds by about 13%. In Massachusetts when tougher restrictions were imposed on young drivers, fatalities dropped 75% and injuries dropped and injuries fell 38% according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. IIHS finds that half of parents surveyed support raising the minimum learners permit age, reports USA Today.
STAND UP would:
· Establish a three tier process including a learner’s permit, an intermediate stage then an unrestricted license
· Prohibit nighttime driving in the first two stages
· Restrict cellphone use in the first two stages
· States that do not participate after three years would not be eligible for federal highway monies
AAA has stated that the STAND UP is very close to a model GDL.
The IIHS has found that major GDL restrictions reduce crashes between 10 and 30%.
In states that implemented restrictions, fatal crashes among drivers under the age of 18 dropped 75% in three years while injuries fell 38%.
The senate sponsors include Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn. and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY.
The National Youth Rights Association points out to USA Today that in some states, youth learn to drive tractors at a young age and making restrictions in a farm state the same as an urban area will create problems.
In the House the STANDUP Act was introduced in April 2009 by Reps. Tim Bishop (D-NY), Michael Castle (R-DE), and Chris Van Hollen Jr. (D-MD). #