Oakley Graduated License Program


Oakley Graduated License Program

I’m Ed Smith, an Oakley car accident lawyer. California driving safety is an ongoing issue for state legislators. One assemblyman thinks that expanding the Graduated License Program to include all those under the age of 21 will reduce teen drivers causing car crashes in Oakley and throughout the Golden State.

While Jim Frazier’s plan would expand the restrictions on inexperienced drivers, the lack of data about program expansion from other states has led some to question whether or not the bill will be effective in reducing traffic accidents.

The Plan to Reduce Teen Fatal Crash Statistics in California

As a local, Jim Frazier’s AB 63 would affect driving safety in Oakley as well as throughout the state. Currently, 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds looking to drive must go through a graduated driving license (GDL) program. They cannot drive at night or with passengers about their age.

The program lasts for a year but if Frazier’s bill passed, it would also apply to those ages 18 to 20. It’s unclear what benefit there is to having the cutoff age at 21. However, what is clear is that many traffic safety researchers believe that, in general, GDL programs have helped reduce the rate of teen car crashes in California and in other states.

Statistics Regarding GDLs and Teen Traffic Accidents

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety collected traffic accident data in 2010 from other studies that noted a stark 40 percent and 38 percent in fatal and injury accidents among the youngest drivers from 2002-2007.

Another data set from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that over a longer period, from 1996-2007, there was a statistically significant decrease in the rate of accidents that AAA attributed to GDLs. Yet even with these changes, outlets like the L.A. Times still have questions about…

 Could This Help or No?

The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board recently published a piece mentioning two key concerns regarding the issue of expanding the GDL program. For One, they noted that the only data that would either support or disprove the likelihood of reducing Northern California accidents comes from New Jersey. It’s the only other state that has a program extending restrictions to new drivers up to the age of 20.

Second, other than for 18-year-olds, data from AAA indicates that the number of injury car crashes does not go down in any reasonable way. This leads to questions about the necessity of extending the program.

The bigger question listed in the LA Times editorial are the number of “loopholes”. The newspaper noted that there are exemptions for many reasons: doctors’ visits, school events, for those in the military and for those who need to help out their family, among others. If there are that many ways to get around the restrictions, the piece questions the value.

AB 63 will be up for debate in upcoming sessions of the state assembly regarding its potential efficacy in improving California driver safety.

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Oakley Car Accident & Personal Injury Attorneys

I’m Ed Smith, an Oakley car accident lawyer. If you, or someone you know has been seriously injured in a car accident, please call me today (925) 428-5220 for free, friendly advice. You may call toll-free at (800) 404-5400 if calling from outside of the Oakley area.

I have been assisting people with their wrongful death and personal injury claims since 1982.

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Image Attribution: Vernon Chan – Wikimedia Commons

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