Is it Time to STANDUP for Young Drivers?

The Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act of 2011 (STANDUP), or S. 528, is a bill that would raise the minimum driving age to 18 and save a lot of lives in the process, according to statistics.

Introduced by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on March 9, 2011, this bill would provide driver safety grants to states with graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws, which include night-time driving and passenger restrictions for young drivers.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 175 lives could be saved and about 350,000 injuries prevented each year if every state had a strong GDL policy. Graduated Driving Laws help new drivers gain experience under low-risk conditions by granting driving privileges in stages, the CDC said.

In the past decade, more than 90,000 Americans were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving drivers between 15 and 20 years of age, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Young drivers between ages 16 and 20 have a fatality rate that is 4 times higher than the rate for drivers between ages 25 and 70, the administration said.

So is it time to make some changes to prevent needless fatalities and personal injury caused by young, inexperienced drivers? While it might not be popular with teen-agers, it seems to make good sense according to statistics.

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