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Study finds teen driving laws also cut crime rates

Tuesday, April 5, 2016by  Sharlyn Petit

Our Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) laws in Washington and Oregon may also lower crime rates for teens ages 16 and 17.

Researchers from the University of Texas found that teen driving curfews and passenger restrictions lessen the probability that teens will get themselves in trouble.

The study compared teen arrest data for states before and after GDL laws were enacted. Results show that arrests of younger teens decreased by 4 to 6 percent, with larger impact in states where a nighttime driving curfew is required for a longer time. Those states also showed the greatest crime reductions in manslaughter, larceny, and aggravated assault.

Washington and Oregon have similarly structured GDL laws, such as: minimum age of 15 years old for instruction permit (15½ in Washington without driver’s ed), required supervised driving hours, nighttime driving restrictions, passenger restrictions, and a minimum age for full-privilege driving (17 in Oregon, 18 in Washington).

All 50 states have a three-stage GDL system aimed at reducing high-risk exposure for novice drivers, and it’s great to see data supporting positive secondary effects of GDL laws.

Read more about the University of Texas study.

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