The Iowa Department of Transportation is reporting, that already this year, 42 people between the ages of 14 and 20 have been killed in traffic crashes in Iowa. Last year, there were over 15,000 crashes involving 14-20 year old drivers, resulting in 78 fatalities and 388 major injuries. David Stutz, with the Iowa DOT, says teen drivers are causing a high percentage of traffic crashes.
Stutz says 14-20 year olds represent only 17-percent of licensed drivers in Iowa, but suffer 40-percent of all fatal or serious traffic injuries. Under Iowa’s current graduated driver’s license law, 16 year old drivers are allowed to have as many passengers as there are seat belts in the vehicle.
"Passengers should be restricted," Stutz says, "especially peer group passengers. The more passengers in the vehicle, the more they’re going to crash." Stutz says the Iowa legislature should consider placing further restrictions on that state’s GDL law.
Stutz suggests limiting the number of passengers that teen drivers can have in the vehicle, and possibly banning teens from driving earlier in the night. Currently, Iowa’s law says 16 year olds can not drive alone between 12:30 and 5:30 A.M. Stutz is also encouraging parents to remind their teen drivers to wear seats, obey the speed limit, and avoid using a cell phone while behind the wheel.