A study conducted in Australia found that increasing restrictions for newly licensed drivers, especially those between the ages of 18 and 20 years of age, was responsible for reducing the rate of car accidents in which the younger drivers were involved.
The study, conducted in Victoria, Australia, found that by changing the laws regarding young drivers, traffic accidents were reduced in this demographic by over 23%. Fatalities and serious injuries in this demographic also lowered by almost 31%.
In 2007 and 2008, Victoria’s licensing rules were changed and many restrictions were put into place. Of the most significant changes in July of 2008 increased probationary times for new drivers from three years to four years.
In addition, a wide variety of other restrictions were placed on first year drivers such as prohibiting them from using cell phones and hands-free devices. Also, the new restrictions prohibited probationary drivers from having more than one passenger in the vehicle that was between the ages of 16 and 21.
Under the new rules for a first year driver to move forward to the next stage of licensing for drivers, the first year driver has to maintain an excellent driving record. These drivers are also required to pass a road test before they can continue forward in the various stages of probationary licensing.
Thanks to the changes, researchers found that auto accidents and serious injuries in which young or probationary drivers were involved in showed a precipitous drop in fatalities. These rule changes also encouraged drivers to avoid driving situations where there were multiple vehicle passengers.
Younger drivers said that once the rules were changed, they were also less likely to be using mobile phones while driving. Lastly, many of these younger drivers said that the introduction of more stringent regulations discourage them from committing minor traffic offenses.
Here in the United States, many road safety experts believe that similar graduated licensing programs may help reduce the number of accidents that teenagers are involved in. Nevertheless, it remains clear that parents can also play a major role in improving teenage road safety by continuing to stress the importance of observing all the rules of the road while driving.
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