Oakley Graduated License Program


Graduated License Program in Oakley

California driving safety is an ongoing issue for state legislators. One assemblyman thinks expanding the Graduated License Program to include all those under 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 the bill will effectively reduce 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 and 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 a year, but if Frazier’s bill passes, it applies to those aged 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 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 more extended 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 Not?

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

Second, other than for 18-year-olds, data from AAA indicates that the number of injuries in car crashes does not decrease reasonably. This leads to questions about the necessity of extending the program.

The bigger question in the LA Times editorial is the number of “loopholes.” The newspaper noted that there are exemptions for many reasons: doctors’ visits, school events, those in the military, and those who need to help out their families, 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 state assembly sessions regarding its potential efficacy in improving California driver safety.

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