Drivers ages 18 and 19 account for most teen driver deaths, according to research of fatal crashes over a 10-year period done by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Kara Macek, senior director of communications and programs at GHSA, says older teens getting behind the wheel without graduated driver license training may be the reason why.
"As the report shows, one in three teens isn't licensed by the age 18, which means that when they get their license, they often aren't going through the graduated driver licensing process and getting the education necessary to learn safe driving skills," says Macek. "For teens that were licensed at 16 or 17, by the time they're 18 or 19, they've gotten comfortable driving, forgotten some of the training, and are likely to start taking more risks -- even though they're still fairly inexperienced drivers."
As a way to combat this issue, Macek says the GHSA suggests that all states increase GDL laws for drivers until the age of 21. Only New Jersey has that kind of restriction.
"Expanding GDL would ensure that the vast majority of people getting a driver's license for the first time have received adequate training and education on safe driving," she says.