According to the Center for Disease Control, car crashes are the number one killer of teens. The Stand Up Act addresses the issue with a change of driving rules affecting when teens can obtain a learners permit, the implementation of an intermediate stage, and a minimum age for obtaining full licensing.
There are several key points to the Standup Act
There must be three stages to acquire full licensing – learner, intermediate, and full licensing.
Age 16 should be the earliest a teen can acquire a learners permit.
Unsupervised night driving should be restricted.
Driving while using cell phones prohibited until age 18.
Full licensing no earlier than age 18.
Penalties for noncompliance with the Stand Up Act
States that do not comply with the Stand Up Act by October 2012 would put themselves at risk of losing highway construction funds. A percentage basis governs this withholding measure, with an increase in percentage for each year of noncompliance. States that comply within three years would receive those funds.
Current key risk factors for driving teens
According to the CDC, the ages of highest driving risk to teens are 16 to 19, with teen boys 15 to 19 at almost two times the risk of teen girls. Crash risk is highest the first year of driving.
One question parents might ask is how raising the minimum driving age to 16 in all states impacts male teens at highest risk. By eliminating the possibility of acquiring a permit at age 15, the Stand Up Act removes those teens from roads, therefore affecting statistics for the youngest male teen drivers. However, all teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are still at high risk. The Stand Up Act addresses this group with the intermediate driving stage.
The Stand Up Act has its detractors.
Alex Koroknay-Palicz of the Huffington Post suggests that withholding drivers licensing is arbitrary age discrimination. Citing a study by Youthrights.org, he further states that teens obtaining licenses under graduated rules have more accidents.
Does withholding license to teen drivers make them better drivers, or is it age discrimination that does little more than making some teens wait until adulthood to obtain driver’s licenses to avoid the restrictions? Is cell phone use more dangerous when done by teen drivers than by adult drivers? They are questions worth exploring.
The Stand Up Act and TADRA
Some states already have portions of the Stand Up Act’s provisions in place. Georgia’s TADRA, or Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act, requires the three-step licensing process and increased education. Since TADRA passed, road fatalities have decreased.