Posted On: December 29, 2011 by Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy

Stronger GDL Laws Could Save 49 Teen Motorist Lives in Indiana Annually

bumper.jpgAt least 49 teenage drivers could be saved every year if the state of Indiana improved its graduated driver’s licensing programs. In fact, according to a study by the National Safety Council, at least 2,000 lives of teenage drivers could be saved every year if such programs were strengthened and included more restrictions.

According to transportation safety experts, the ideal graduated driver’s licensing program will include 7 components.
1. It will include a minimum age of 16 for a person to get a learner's permit,
2. It will require that a person have at least 6 months of supervised driving
3. It will require a minimum of 30 hours of supervised driving when the person is in the learner stage
4. It will set 16 ½ as the minimum age for an intermediate license
5. It will have nighttime driving restrictions that would begin at 10 PM
6. It will restrict the number of non-family passengers to just one for intermediate license holders
7. It will set a minimum age of 17 for a full license.

Currently, only New York and Delaware have a graduated driver’s licensing program that includes all 7 components. Indiana’s graduated driver’s licensing program could do with more than a few tweaks. For instance, in Indiana, the minimum age to get a learner's permit is 15 years. Even the nighttime driving restrictions for intermediate license holders are phased, with a limit of between 10 pm and 5 am during the first 180 days after which, the restrictions are relaxed a little.

However, Indiana personal injury lawyers don't expect the graduated driver’s licensing program in Indiana to change anytime soon. In fact, the provision that sets a minimum age of 15 to obtain a learner's permit is not likely to change very quickly because of the opposition to such changes. According to the National Youth Rights Association, it is discriminatory to set a minimum wage for a person who wants to get a learner's permit. Any proposed changes like this are likely to face a lot of challenges.

However, transportation safety agencies and teen rights groups also need to consider the fact that automobile accidents are the number one cause of unnatural death for teenagers in the United States. Teenagers are not only at a higher risk of traffic accidents, but also at a much higher risk of alcohol-related car accidents and distracted driving accidents. While there has been a lot of progress made in reducing the number of alcohol-related car accident fatalities involving adults, little progress has been made in reducing the number of drunk driving accidents involving teen motorists. Also, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found it hard to crack down on the practice of texting while driving and using cell phones while driving among teen drivers.

The Indiana personal injury lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy represent persons who have been injured in car and auto accidents across Indiana.