A recent report indicates Iowa teenagers are involved in more traffic crashes involving fatalities and serious injuries than most other states. Scott Falb, with the Iowa DOT, says the state has improved the percentage of traffic deaths involving youth – since passing the graduated driver’s license (GDL) law in 1999.
Before the GDL, 16 year olds in Iowa has a crash rate of about 2,000 crashes per 10,000 licensed drivers. Now, that rate is around 1,200 crashes per 10,000 drivers. The Iowa GDL places restrictions on when 16 year olds can drive and how many passengers can be in their vehicle.
Right now, Iowa’s law says 16 year olds can not drive alone between 12:30 and 5:30 A.M. Falb says other states have reduced the number of crashes involving teens by banning 16 year olds from driving after 10 P.M.
"Many states also restrict 16 year olds to one or no passengers," Falb says, "while here in Iowa, you can have as many passengers as you have seat belts."
Between 2000 and 2005, 16 to 24 year old motorists were involved in nearly one-quarter of all the traffic fatalities or serious injury crashes in Iowa. July is recognized nationally as "Teen Safe Driver Month."