Press release: 2019 survey: Why nearly a third of parents don’t enforce teen driver safety laws

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Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Laws are meant to save lives and help protect young drivers by allowing them to safely gain driving experience before obtaining full driving privileges. Research shows they work when enforced. Traffic safety experts point to GDL laws as the main reason teen driver fatalities have dropped over the past two decades.

A key piece of GDL laws is parental enforcement. However, new research from finds that many parents aren’t making sure their teens are following GDL laws.

The survey of 1,000 parents of teen drivers finds that nearly one-third say they don’t always enforce GDL laws. That’s a decline of nine percentage points compared to a similar 2018 survey.’s research also shows that a major reason why many parents ignore GDL laws is that they don’t know them. A whopping 45% of respondents said they aren’t aware of their state GDL laws.

The research also finds the following:

  • The GDL laws that parents aren’t enforcing the most are time restrictions, such as limiting overnight and early morning driving.
  • More than half of mothers who don’t always enforce GDL laws (52%) said they don’t know their state GDL laws. That’s compared to 28% of fathers.
  • Eighteen percent of respondents don’t think GDL laws are fair, with the same percentage picking and choosing the laws they think their child should follow.
  • One area that parents are starting to address is cell phone and electronics device use, with 32% of parents saying they don’t enforce cell phone bans, down from 49% from 2018.

When asked about their teen’s worst driving habits, parents cited the most significant problems as speeding, texting while driving and parallel parking.

The report also provides information on the average rates and key discounts for teen drivers.’s Managing Editor Les Masterson is an author of this research: survey 2019: Why many parents don’t enforce teen driver safety laws. Let us know if you’d like to talk with him, or have any questions you’d like answered via email.  We’d be happy to set something up.

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