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Are graduated licenses yielding safer drivers?

Safe driving comes with practice; a lot of it. It takes years to acquire the skills and intuition needed to process the large amount of information and circumstances encountered while driving.

Some states have enacted graduated driver’s licenses to help teens obtain valuable first-hand experience before allowing unrestricted access to the open road.

Here’s what you should know about graduated licenses and their effectiveness.

How the program works in Florida

One of the most dangerous times for teenage drivers to be on the road is at night. The primary restriction for drivers under 18 is aimed at reducing nighttime driving. While there are allowances for teenagers who work at night, driving for other purposes is very limited.

As these drivers gain more experience, they progress through different levels of driving access. Once a driver turns 18 they are eligible for a regular Class E driver’s license if they have complied with the graduated regulations and can also prove school attendance.

Is it effective?

While states have different approaches to graduated licenses, the process seems to be useful for reducing teen accidents. Some of the most effective elements include:

  • Limitations on night driving
  • Passenger limitations
  • Required supervised driving time
  • Specific time periods are regulated before moving to next license type
  • Strict consequences for moving violations

There is disagreement as to the level of effectiveness since some argue the approach merely shifts accidents to a later age. In general, however, graduated licenses seem to be effective at reducing fatal accidents.

Safe driving habits and developing the skills necessary to react and respond to ever-changing surroundings while driving expand over the course of years. Graduated licenses are utilized by states to assist teens as they learn these skills before driving independently on the road.


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