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Massachusetts car accidents reduced by teen driver program; nationwide law proposed

Federal lawmakers are pushing for a nationwide graduated driver’s license law aimed at reducing serious and fatal accidents involving teenagers, the USAToday reported.

As we reported recently on our Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, 68 young people were killed in Massachusetts car accidents in 2008. Nationwide, 2,739 were killed and more than 228,000 were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Fatal Massachusetts car accidents involving teenagers declined 75 percent in the three years following the state’s implementation of tough driving standards for young motorists, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Only North Dakota lacks a staged licensing program for teen drivers. But the government contends passing a nationwide law would replace a patchwork of state legislation aimed at young drivers. The strongest teen-driving programs at the state level currently restrict nighttime driving, limit the number of teen passengers and require a minimum age of 16 before getting a learner’s permit.

The Senate proposal, dubbed the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STAND UP) act, would outline the process for new drivers under 21:

-Require a three-stage process, beginning with a learner’s permit and then continuing on to an intermediate stage before granting an unrestricted driver’s license.

-Prohibit unsupervised driving at night until the unrestricted license is obtained.

-Forbid non-emergency use of cell phones and other communication devices while driving.

The government would hold federal funding hostage for states that do not comply within three years.

The Insurance Institute claims that increasing the minimum age for learner’s permits nationwide would reduce crashes involving teen drivers by 13 percent.

If you have been injured in a Massachusetts car accident, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.