Statewide Graduated Driver License Laws Could Reduce the Risk of Teen Car Accidents in North Carolina, Nationwide

Earlier this month, two former Secretaries for the U.S. Department of Transportation wrote letters in support of federal teen driving legislation in hopes of enacting the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STANDUP) Act which would standardize Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws statewide, according to Fox 29 WFLX.

This is the second time in as many weeks that the federal government is taking a stand on safer driving at the state level. We posted previously on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog that legislative action is being proposed for the Safe Drivers Act 2011 which would impose distracted driving laws nationwide rather than individually by state. Similarly, the STANDUP Act would impose safer driving for teens by imposing laws nationally with regard to GDL programs and authorizing federal money to be put towards surface transportation programs.
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Teens are the age group at most risk of car accidents in Greensboro, Gastonia and elsewhere so our Winston-Salem car accident lawyers consider the importance of these proposed bills validated in reducing the risk of death or injury to all motorists involved in car accidents throughout the state and nationwide.

Saferoads4teens.org reports the following key points proposed for the STANDUP Act:

  • Minimum federal requirements would be enacted for state GDL laws.
  • States would adopt GDL laws within three years to meet the federal requirements.
  • During the three years following enactment, states that comply would receive federal money in grants to help with GDL enforcement and education.
  • States that fail to comply with federal requirements made by legislation would lose federal money meant for federal highway construction programs. Each state would have three years to recuperate any funds lost or else the money would be returned to the U.S Treasury.
  • Each state would have three stages of licensing – a learner’s permit, intermediate phase, and full license.
  • Age 16 would be the earliest that a teen could apply for a learner’s permit.
  • Unsupervised night time driving would be limited during the first two stages of getting a license.
  • Texting and talking while driving would be prohibited until a full license is obtained.
  • A full license with no restrictions would not be obtained before age 18.
  • Passengers would be restricted to one non-family member under the age of 21 unless a driver over the age of 21 is in the vehicle. Restriction would last until a full driver’s ilcense is obtained.

Over 150 organizations at the national, state and local levels stand behind the authorization of the STANDUP Act. These endorsers include Mothers Against Drunk Driving, American Academy of Pediatrics, law enforcement officials, first responders, health and safety groups, insurance companies, parents, and teens among others.

The STANDUP Act proposes that every teen in every state be protected when learning to drive. Stricter GDL laws enforced statewide can reduce the risk of teen car crashes and could potentially save thousands of lives involved in teen car crashes every year. Passing federal legislation can force an immediate response to take state action.

For more information on North Carolina’s current GDL program, visit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

If your or a teen driver in your family has been injured in a car accident in North Carolina, contact the car accident attorneys at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. For a free and confidential appointment call 1-800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

Federal Teen Driving Legislation Gains Bipartisan Support From Transportation Cabinet Officials in Previous Administrations, posted in Fox 29 WFLX

Teens at High Risk of Greensboro Car Accidents in Summer, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, June 16, 2011

Teen Car Accidents Medically Expensive in North Carolina and Often Require an Experienced Law Firm, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, May 17, 2011

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