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Report finds graduated driver licensing could save lives
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The "Allstate Foundation License to Save Report," developed in conjunction with the National Safety Council, shows that if California implemented comprehensive graduated driver licensing laws an estimated 133 lives and $910 million could be saved annually. Nationally, if all states implemented comprehensive GDL laws, an estimated 2,000 lives and $13.6 billion could be saved per year.
Novice teenage drivers are the most likely drivers on the road to have car accidents. In fact, 16-year-old drivers have crash rates two times greater than 18-to-19-year-old drivers and four times that of older drivers.
GDL helps new drivers gain experience under supervised and less risky conditions. The most comprehensive GDL laws include nighttime driving restrictions; passenger limits, cell phone and texting bans, mandatory behind-the-wheel driving time, minimum entry age for learners permit (16), and age 18 before full licensure. In some states that have enacted strong GDL laws, the incidence of teenage driving related deaths have dropped by as much as 40 percent.
"Teen driving deaths are a real public health crisis," explained Phil Telgenhoff, Allstate's field vice president in California."What's worse is that these deaths are avoidable. We can take very simple, common sense steps that would protect young drivers across the country. Our Allstate agents see firsthand the dangers for young drivers on the road and as a company we are committed to putting an end to this epidemic."
More than 81,000 people were killed in crashes involving drivers ages 15 to 20 in the decade from 2000 to 2009,making teen driving crashes the leading cause of teen deaths nationwide.
In addition to the lives lost, the total cost to the nation of crashes involving teen drivers in 2009 was estimated at $38.3 billion. These costs include wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses for public and private insurance, police and legal costs, motor vehicle damage, employers' uninsured costs and fire losses. These costs were paid by employers, state and local governments and by citizens through taxes, fees and insurance premiums.
"Over the last 20 years, graduated driver licensing laws have saved an estimated 15,000 lives. These laws can save thousands of American lives and save billions of dollars for consumers, businesses and state and local governments," said Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "Our elected officials do not have many opportunities during their careers to take action that will save thousands of lives and billions of dollars in one legislative action. This is one of those times."
To review the complete report and related content,

Coming to Agreement
GDL laws are minimum standards that can help keep teens safer on the road, however, the more that parents are involved in their teen's driving experience, the more likely they will be a safer driver and passenger. To help educate parents and teens about the safety measures that keep drivers protected, the Allstate Foundation created a new free Parent-Teen Driving Agreement. The agreement can help parents and their teens make safer decisions when they get behind the wheel and when they ride as passengers with their friends.
"The Parent-Teen Driving Agreement helps open the door for a conversation about safe driving with your teen," said Telgenhoff. "The agreement works best when it is followed by actions demonstrating those safe driving behaviors you want your teens to engage in, and reinforcing those behaviors with continued, evolving discussion as your teen is exposed to new driving situations."
The new agreement provides the opportunity for parents to discuss their teen's responsibilities when driving or riding as a passenger in a car driven by another teen, and to decide together on the consequences when those responsibilities aren't met. The agreement encourages discussion about several different issues that affect safe driving behavior, including:

• No texting or cell phone use while driving: Cell phone calls and texting increase crash risk significantly, and teens are particularly affected.
• Wearing a seatbelt: Using lap/shoulder belts can reduce the risk of dying in a car crash by 45 percent.
• Stopping distractions: In 2009, 16 percent of all fatal crashes for people under the age of 20 were reported to involve distracted driving.
• Slowing down: In 2009, speed-related crashes accounted for 34 percent of fatalities among 16-to-19-year-olds.
• Driving during the day: Nearly half the teens that died in car crashes in 2009 were killed between 3 p.m. and midnight.
• Limiting the number of passengers: The presence of one passenger increases the chance of a fatal crash; the presence of one male passenger nearly doubles those odds.
• Being a safe passenger: Being a responsible passenger can help other drivers be safer. In addition to not having more people in the car with a teen driver than is allowed under law, responsible passengers can offer to make a call or send a text for the driver, refuse to get into the car when the driver is drunk or drugged, and avoid risky situations.
• No drinking or drugs: Thirteen percent of high school seniors reported driving under the influence of marijuana, a number nearly equivalent to those who reported driving under the influence of alcohol.
• Getting good grades: Good grades aren't just important for your teen's future career, they are also indicative of safe driving behavior. Studies have shown a strong correlation between getting good grades and being safe on the road.
Parents can get tailored agreements for their particular state that includes information on the GDL laws applicable to their teen by