Advocates Push For Laws to Raise Safety, Lower Car Insurance

Calligraphy pen and paperAdvocates for more extensive regulations governing teen drivers across the country gathered last week at the Capitol to raise awareness for their cause. The group was lobbying specifically for the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STANDUP) Act.

The STANDUP Act aims to improve the safety record of the country’s youngest drivers by setting federal standards for state graduated licensing systems.

More stringent systems could help keep teen drivers from being exposed to some of the most hazardous road conditions until they are more mature and experienced, advocates say. Teens that don’t get into accidents and take educational courses geared towards safe driving can help families get the cheapest car insurance for young drivers.

Bill Walter, a Maryland man who lost his son Matt in a 1999 crash, told CNN that the laws would make things easier for both parents and teenagers.

With new regulations, “Parents don’t have to be the bad guys when they say, ‘No you can’t take your friends in the car,’ or ‘No, you can’t drive late at night,’” Walter said.

States that follow the provisions of the STANDUP Act and pass tougher laws to protect teen drivers could see rewards, according to the Atlanta Journal-Consitution, in the form of a yearly bump of $500,000 to $1 million in government grants per year for up to three years. Conversely, the paper says, states that do not comply with the STANDUP Act could see the Department of Transportation grant money slashed.

Delaware is currently the only state to have standards that already fully comply with the proposed rules of the STANDUP Act, imposing a six-month waiting period for an unrestricted license and a requirement of 30 to 50 hours of driving supervised by an adult.

Studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute have shown that “delaying licensure reduces fatal crashes
among 15-17-year-old drivers and insurance collision claims among 16-year-olds with licenses.” If the proliferation of stricter graduated licensing systems makes a significant impact on the crash rate for younger drivers — the crash rate for 16- to 19-year-olds is four times the rate for older drivers — this could in turn have a significant impact on premium prices for younger drivers.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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