More than 500 lives could be saved and 9,500 collisions prevented annually if every U.S. state adopted best practices for five aspects of young driver laws, according to an analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and its affiliate, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).
The five areas cited are:
- Permit age. Eight states (Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island) and the District of Columbia were recognized for having the best practices by establishing a minimum permit age of 16.
- Practice driving hours. Pennsylvania was noted for having the best policy -- at least 65 supervised practice hours.
- License age. New Jersey was named as having the best minimum intermediate license age -- 17.
- Night driving restrictions. Idaho and South Carolina took top honors for a night-driving restriction starting at 8 p.m. during the intermediate license stage.
- Teen passenger restrictions. Fifteen states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia) and the District of Columbia ban all teen passengers during the intermediate license stage.
"Even the best states can do better," Anne McCartt, IIHS vice president for research, said in a press statement. "There’s room for improvement across the board, and states could see immediate reductions in fatal crashes and collision claims as soon as the beefed-up provisions are in force."