New research by Purdue University has found that a ban on new drivers carrying multiple passengers at night reduced crashes and deaths by more than half. According to a news report, the study, conducted by Tim Moore, examines the effects of a ban on carrying multiple passengers between 11 p.m. and 4:59 a.m. for first-year drivers under the age of 21.
Researchers who conducted the study estimate that this restriction reduced reported hospitalizations and fatalities by 58% with 41 fewer hospitalizations, 98 fewer minor injuries, and 164 fewer crashes with property damage per 100,000 first-year drivers. The ban was implemented in July 2007 in the Australian state of New South Wales and is shown to be as effective as the harsher restrictions that tend to discourage teens from getting licenses and starting to drive.
What the Study Shows
Moore said delaying when teens can begin to drive also delays driving experience and the benefits of driving independently. His study finds no evidence that the restriction in Australia delays driving skills development because it targets a specific driving behavior.
Unlike other restrictions, the ban also seemed to affect driving behavior significantly. Researchers found a reduction in nighttime multi-passenger crashes in the second and third years of driving. They saw no differences beyond the third year, probably because, they say, by then, teens have become much safer drivers.
This study is significant because it shows the type of changes in the law that could lead to long-term driving behavior changes. Other changes such as speed-monitoring campaigns don’t tend to have that effect because the crashes return once the enforcement period has ended.
Keeping Teen Drivers Safe
Our car accident lawyers know the dangers teen drivers face, particularly because of poor judgment and lack of experience. There are several steps that parents can take to keep their teens safe behind the wheel.
Make sure you talk to your teen early and often about staying away from reckless behavior including speeding, drinking, and distracted driving. Model good behavior including not talking on the phone or texting while driving. Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers. Teens getting ready to drive should enroll in a driver education program, which teaches safety skills and how to avoid distracted driving.