The Journal Gazette
Saturday, September 04, 2021 1:00 am

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Study shows restrictions increase safety among newly licensed drivers

EDITORIAL BOARD | The Journal Gazette

Your teenager isn't going to like this.

Restrictions on when teens can drive – and with whom – can save lives.

Tim Moore, a Purdue University economics professor, found that a ban on new drivers carrying multiple passengers at night reduced crashes, injuries and deaths.

The findings, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, support restrictions saying young Hoosiers can't drive late at night or early in the morning.

Indiana law also bars drivers with probationary licenses from carrying passengers in certain situations in the first 180 days of having their license.

Moore and co-author Todd Morris of the Max Planck Institute for Social Law studied a 2007 ban in Australia that prohibits drivers younger than 21 from carrying multiple passengers from 11 p.m. to 4:59 a.m. The law caused a 58% drop in hospitalizations and fatalities per 100,000 first-year drivers, according to the study.

There also are longer-term effects.

“We find significant reductions in nighttime multipassenger crashes in the second year and third years of driving,” Moore said in a statement. “We see no differences beyond the third year, but by that time teens have become much safer drivers – their crash rates are one-fifth those of first-year drivers.”

Indiana drivers can earn a license at 16, and state law prohibits driving from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for 180 days after a license is issued. Some late-night and early-morning driving is restricted beyond that, to age 18. The law also limits who can ride with the new drivers.

More than 16,000 teens in the U.S. die each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Car crashes make up about a third of all deaths.

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