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Medical, Insurance, Automotive and Safety Groups Call on Congress to Make This the "Last Deadly Summer for Teens" by Swiftly Passing Federal Teen Driving Safety Bill
Date:6/3/2009

at leave millions of teens in jeopardy and contribute to unnecessary deaths and injuries each year.

The STANDUP Act provisions are supported by extensive data and research showing the lifesaving benefits of effective GDL laws in saving teen lives. GDL laws are a proven method of preventing teen driving deaths and injuries and have been shown to achieve as much as a 40 percent drop in teen deaths and injuries.

Tragically, more than 7,500 people die annually in car crashes involving teen drivers, including nearly 5,000 teens themselves. For instance, in 2007 alone, the number of deaths in crashes involving drivers ages 15 to 20 was 7650. A disproportionate number of teen crashes occur during the summer months of June, July and August. Thousands of teens won't be returning to high school this year because of the enormous mortality and morbidity toll of motor vehicle crashes.

The STANDUP Act would provide three years of incentive grants to states that adopt the minimum GDL provisions required in the bill. If after three years any state does not meet the federal standards, a portion of the state's federal-aid highway funds will be withheld until the necessary laws are enacted. A similar strategy was used when President Reagan signed the National Minimum 21 Drinking Age Act and when President Clinton approved the .08 percent legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) law. Each time Congress has used this type of penalty, every state has enacted the law within the time frame allowed and no state lost any federal funds. As a result, both laws have saved thousands of lives.

The Saferoads4teens coalition letter pointed out that passage of the federal bill "will ensure that every teen in every state will benefit from the protection of an effective GDL law when getting behind the wheel of a car."

The letter concluded: "It is a rare occasion when one policy decision can have such a dramatic
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SOURCE Saferoads4teens.org Coalition
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