During 2009, approximately 3,000 teenage drivers ages 15-19 died in motor vehicle accidents. This alarming statistic has resulted in increased funding from the federal government for additional training, education and enforcement related to preventing car accidents involving teenage drivers.
It makes sense that drivers who are inexperienced are more likely to be involved in a car accident. Lack of experience, coupled with distractions like cellphones and other teen passengers have resulted in motor vehicle accidents being the number one cause of death for teens ages 15-19. In an effort to reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents caused by teen drivers, every state has some type of graduated driver licensing program.
These programs impose certain restrictions and requirements upon teen drivers related to age, duration and supervised and night time driving. In Louisiana, a teen must have 50 hours of supervised driving experience before gaining full driving privileges at age 17. Additionally, Louisiana teen drivers are not allowed to drive unsupervised and must be accompanied by an adult between 11 p.m. - 5 a.m., they are also not allowed to have more than one passenger under the age of 21 in their motor vehicle between the hours of 6 p.m. - 5 a.m.
While highway safety advocates applaud the safety benefits of graduated licensing programs, they admit more could be done. The new transportation bill recently signed into law by President Obama calls for an additional $46 million dollars to be allocated via grants to states who want to enact programs geared to curb distracted driving. The bill also provides for an additional $27 million to states for the continuation and improvement of graduated licensing programs.
Source: Kaiser Health News, "New Federal Transportation Law Encourages Stricter Teen Driving Regs," Michelle Andrews, July 30, 2012