Oregon’s seven-year-old graduated driver license laws have saved teenagers’ lives and prevented injuries on roadways, according to a federal study released March 14.
Overall, the restrictions and requirements of new drivers younger than 18 years have improved traffic safety since the program began in Oregon in March 2000, according to the Evaluation of Oregon’s Graduated Driver Licensing Program sponsored by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The study cited several safety benefits for all Oregonians:
In the past decade, Oregon and many other states have introduced graduated driver licensing because the crash and traffic fatality rates for drivers younger than 18 have been highest of any age group.
"The first six months with a driver license is the most dangerous time for a 16-year-old behind the wheel," said Troy E. Costales, Oregon Department of Transportation Safety Division administrator. "So Oregon's strategy is to require more learning time with fewer distractions, such as other teenagers in the car."
During 1998 in Oregon, before graduated driver licensing, there were 1,196 fatal or injury crashes with a 16-year-old behind the wheel of the car, according to ODOT crash data. That figure declined to 898 in 2000, when graduated licensing began to have an impact. It further declined to 810 in 2001, 743 in 2002 and 751 in 2003.
Oregon’s GDL program includes these requirements for new drivers younger than 18:
In addition, the Oregon Driver Improvement Program is stricter for drivers younger than 18 than it is for adults:
"Parents, law enforcement, driver educators, judges and even teens themselves all voiced support for graduated licensing and said that it improves safety," Costales said. "Even though teens in the study's focus groups didn't like some of the restrictions, they all agreed that it enhanced their safety."
The study, conducted for NHTSA by the Center for Applied Research Inc., analyzed Oregon crash and traffic conviction data and assembled focus groups that included teens, parents, DMV road test administrators, driving instructors, police, high school administrators and judges who preside over traffic adjudications involving teen drivers. The results were announced March 14 at Lifesavers 2005 in Charlotte, N.C., in a meeting of the National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities.
What is Oregon GDL? Oregon Graduated Driver Licensing is a system for phasing in on-road driving, allowing beginners to get their initial experience under conditions that involve lower risk and introducing them in stages to more complex driving situations.
Take some time to watch the Young Drivers video here. See if your teen likes this video. If they do, they will love our Oregon graduated driver licensing program.
Remember when we were trying to teach our new teenagers as if we were traveling on a two-lane dirt road at 35 MPH, when our average traveled speed in Oregon exceeds 55 MPH on a six-lane highway? Most families had a single vehicle in the fifties and sixties, and then to two vehicles in the seventies. The days of driving on weekends with mom and dad for the first year or two is over. In today’s hectic schedules, we are not allowing ourselves time to protect our Oregon teens and teach them to drive as we should be. Parents need to realize that as the times change we must keep pace with that change.
Our driving generation, 35 to 50 years old, will be remembered as the worse driving generation in the history of the vehicle. We average 40,000 fatalities per year. Our generation needs to change the way we think and teach Oregon graduated driver licensing.
If you look closely, you'll realize we spend about 12 years on basic education, reading writing, math, history and physical education…and only 6 hours behind the wheel training in a vehicle.
We need to be remembered as the generation that created the best Oregon drivers in history. The generation that did something about the way we think and teach driver training. We need help from every mom and dad to complete this goal. We need to invest our time in our teenagers and take the time needed to teach our children to drive better.
This could mean as much as 1 or two years of guidance. And to do this you will need the very best Oregon curriculum and training videos available. You will need to allow Oregon graduated driver licensing to become part of your families dinner conversation and sharing experiences on new intersections, changes on the interstate on ramps or maybe a lost of a fellow student friend.
Oregon Driver education and training is no longer a project to hire out to the local driving school. Parents need to get involved and stay involved for at least two or three years. Placing driving restrictions and hours on when a new driver is allowed to drive and with whom. This, in essence, is Oregon Graduated Driver Licensing.