Online Auto Insurance: Senators Seek to Beef Up Teen Licensing Standards

Aug 02, 2011, 08:00 ET from Online Auto Insurance, LLC

DOVER, Del., Aug. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- States could get new incentives to fortify their licensing requirements if Congress passes a bill authorizing grants for those that set up graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs. GDL programs use a multi-step process for new drivers that includes passenger and nighttime-driving restrictions. A number of states already have effective GDL programs in place. recommends that beginning motorists avoid potentially risky situations and that they put in an ample amount of supervised driving time behind the wheel, regardless of whether state law requires them to do so. Statistics show teenage drivers have much worse crash rates than older drivers, a fact that has pegged them as a high risk auto insurance group.

The GDL incentive program is part of a larger bill that would allocate funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It would free up $22 million a year for the next two fiscal years to be used for training state officials, publishing materials about new GDL laws, carrying out teen traffic-safety programs and enforcing two-stage licensing processes if their programs meet federal standards.

The minimum standards outlined in the legislation include a two-stage process that leaves beginning motorists with restricted licenses for between one and two years. Individuals with those licenses would be prohibited from using cell phones while driving, getting behind the wheel at night and operating a car with more than one non-family passenger who is under 21 in certain situations.

These standards were based on those outlined in the STANDUP Act, a similar bill that has been introduced twice to Congress but has made little headway either time. The STANDUP Act and other state GDL laws have received strong support from safety groups and car insurance companies.

One co-sponsor of the most recent version of the STANDUP Act is Sen. Tom Carper, the former Gov. of Delaware. According to Online Auto Insurance News, a University of Delaware study showed the crash rate for 16-year-olds in that state was positively impacted following the enactment of a strict GDL law in 2000. Between 1999 and 2008, the annual volume of crashes involving 16-year-olds in the state fell by more than 60 percent.


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SOURCE Online Auto Insurance, LLC