Senate to consider bill to address licensing stages
AAA of Oregon/Idaho
"Motor vehicle crashes remain the number one cause of death for teens in the United States, and roughly 1,000 16-year-old drivers are involved in fatal crashes each year," according to J. Peter Kissinger, AAA Foundation president and CEO. The Foundation commissioned the study to better understand the ability of legislation to make a difference on teen driver safety.
"Based on the research results, the impact of GDL programs is highly impressive," said AAA Idaho Director of Public and Government Affairs Dave Carlson. "SB1119 which will be up for a hearing in the next week or two would amend Idaho's teen licensing law to make it more effective."
The foundation study concludes that certain characteristics common to effective state laws result in fewer fatal crashes and injury crashes. Seven basic GDL components were included as criteria in place in states across the U.S. They include:
The AAA Foundation study is based on an analysis of crash data compiled and made available by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Census data, a comparison of current state laws, and information provided by AAA Government Relations.
Idaho by the numbers
Alhough they represented just 6.8 percent of licensed drivers, teens-agers 15-19 were involved in 13.5 percent of all drivers in fatal and serious injury crashes, based on crash safety data from Idaho's Office of Highway Operations and Safety.
A 2006 study also conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that 285 people were killed in Idaho teen-involved crashes from 1996-2004. Among those were 111 teen drivers 15-17 years of age, 106 passengers, 50 occupants of other vehicles, and 17 pedestrians or non-motorists.
"We hope lawmakers will understand that more needs to be done to help new drivers gain the kind of experience that will ultimately make them better and safer drivers," Carlson said. "We believe legislation now under consideration is a reasonable and prudent way to address the problem."
AAA Idaho led a coalition that helped rewrite a 50-year-old drivers licensing model which previously only required students to pass 30 hours of classroom instruction and just 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training.