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Potential law may reduce Louisiana teen driver accidents

One of the most exciting moments in a teenager's life is the day they obtain a driver's license. Unfortunately for this young population, there seems to be an alarming correlation between the drivers' inexperience and the number of car accidents that they are involved in each year in Louisiana. The consequences of these accidents have been discussed in previous posts here.

Though not unique to young drivers, teens are more likely to be distracted drivers than older drivers as they are more likely to engage in texting and driving and driving over the speed limit. When these factors are coupled with their inexperience, teen drivers become victims of car accidents at a distressing rate. According to the executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, nearly 100 teens were killed in car accidents and close to 10,000 were injured in 2012 alone. The loss or serious injury of a teenager from a car accident can result in extreme pain and suffering for all individuals involved.

Louisiana is now considering a new law that would revise that manner in which teenagers receive their driver's license privileges. The proposed process involves a graduated system in which new drivers gain additional driving privileges as they gain experience and age. For example, various stages in the system may include receiving a permit prior to a license, and then receiving a probationary license with heavy restrictions after the permit. Possible restrictions could include early driving curfews for teen drivers and a prohibition on driving with other teens as passengers.

While Louisiana currently utilizes a limited graduated licensing system, its standards are not as strict as those currently under consideration. While other states around the country have had success in reducing the number of teen driver car accident fatalities through the use of strict graduated licensing systems, a recent study completed in Louisiana suggests that the state's own statistics could improve by implementing a similar program.

Source: WWLTV News, "Tougher laws considered to reduce deaths in teen drivers," Sheba Turk, March 26, 2013

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