Effectiveness of and importance of the Graduated licensing program and man made laws
Graduated licensing program (GDL) and man-made laws have become the center stage of road safety initiatives in different states across the globe especially in the United States (U.S). These initiatives have augmented this extent owing to the high rates of road fatalities that the U.S has been experiencing. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) (2017), U.S records over 30,000 fatalities due to road accidents annually while over 2 million suffer from lifetime injuries or disabilities. However, since the onset of GDL program and various man-made laws, the rate of road accidents has dropped in a significant way stipulating that their implementation is an effective way of ensuring road safety.
National Institute of Health (NIH) (2011) defines Graduated Licensing as an initiative where new drivers end up awarded driving privileges in stages. Additionally, man-made laws are rules set by the U.S’ regime with a view to govern how individuals drive within the state such as Driving Under Influence (DUI) laws, seatbelt laws, cell phone laws besides others. These laws vary from state to state in terms of how they call and apply them. For instance, Texas calls its DUI laws Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), which applies when a driver’s extent of consumed alcohol content is above 0.08% (Balko, 2010). Despite the variation of these laws in different states across U.S, all states contend that they have been very effective in reducing their respective roads’ accidents and fatalities.
Several studies so far conducted have indicated that since the initiation of GDL program, road accidents especially among young people has reduced significantly. According to three studies initiated by NIH between 1996 and 2011, the rates of accident among the teenagers of ages between 16 and 17 reduced by an average of 11% (NIH, 2011). NIH conducted these studies in about 50 states including the District of Columbia. However, even more decrease in road accidents was present in states that incorporated GDL in addition to other man-made laws such as DUI (NIH, 2011).
Moreover, research has identified that man-made laws have proved to be very effective in minimizing the rates of road accidents in all states across the U.S. A report by WHO indicates that without the use of seatbelts, the risk of drivers and vehicles passengers dying out of an accident would be very high (WHO, n.d). They allege passengers without seatbelts have a high possibility of being thrown outside the vehicle in case of an accident, and that is the greatest cause of death among road users. Records from this report shows that over 75% of deaths from road accident occurs to car occupants who are thrown outside their cars as opposed to 5% of deaths from car occupant with seatbelts (WHO, n.d). Furthermore, report by Road Safety Observatory (2017) indicates that ever since the inception of seatbelt laws, the rates of road fatalities has reduced with over 40%.
In addition, the effectiveness of DUI laws has been evident since the law came into effect. Ying, Wu and Chang (2013) argue that before the DUI law, around 30 people in U.S died out of road accidents due to driving while drunk daily accounting to over 60% of overall road accidents. However, this trend has since changed with the commencement of DUI laws with these rates reducing up to 38% (Ying, Wu & Chang, 2013). Nonetheless, Balko (2010) argues that these rates could reduce even further if the DUI laws were harmonized such that the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) allowed should be below 0.05 for drivers. This is in contrast to some DUI laws in some states like Texas where BAC level allowed is up to 8%, which Balko argues that is too high for drivers while on the roads.
The world mostly the U.S has been battling with road safety issues for some time now, hence the reason for the initiation GDL program and man-made laws to contain the situation. Since the onset of this program and the laws, road accidents have reduced in a significant rate portraying their effectiveness in promoting road safety. Several studies have backed this initiated where the rates of individual dying to road accident has minimized greatly especially when GDL is used in conjunction with man-made laws such as DUI laws and seatbelt laws. Therefore, for more effectiveness, GDL program should be enhanced furthers but should be used together with man-made laws.
- (2011). Graduated drivers licensing programs reduce teen crashes. National institute of health (NIH). Retrieved from https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/graduated-drivers-licensing-programs-reduce-fatal-teen-crashes
- (2017). Annual United States road crash statistics. Association for safe international road travel (ISIRT). Retrieved from http://asirt.org/initiatives/informing-road-users/road-safety-facts/road-crash-statistics
- (2017). Seatbelts: How effective? Road Safety Observatory. Retrieved from http://www.roadsafetyobservatory.com/HowEffective/vehicles/seat-belts
- (n.d). The need for seatbelts and child restraints. WHO. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/roadsafety/projects/manuals/seatbelt/seat_belt_manual_module_1.pdf
- Balko, R. (2010, October 11). Abolish drunk driving laws. Reason.com. Retrieved from http://reason.com/archives/2010/10/11/abolish-drunk-driving-laws
- Ying,Y., Wu,C., & Chang, K. (2013). The effectiveness of drinking and driving policies for different alcohol-related fatalities: A quantile regression analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 10(10): 4628–4644. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3823314/