A recent national survey from Allstate Insurance reveals that nearly six in 10 Americans favor a federal law that establishes minimum requirements for state graduated driver licensing (GDL). Survey results show that support for a national law corresponds with low opinions about teen driving skills, which received the lowest ranking among all ages surveyed.
Currently, the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STANDUP) Act is pending in Congress as part of the Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Improvement Act of 2011 (MVHSIA) or Mariah's Law, named after an Arkansas teen killed in a crash involving texting. STANDUP calls for uniform standards that restrict nighttime driving, limits the number of passengers in a teen's car, prohibits the use of cell phones while driving, and issues permits and licenses with specific age requirements and through a gradual, multi-phased process.
When asked about the specific provisions included in the STANDUP Act, Americans are solidly in favor of the policies. Key findings include:
• Seventy-six percent back a minimum age of 16 to receive a learner's permit, and 69 percent favor requiring three stages of licensing.
• Seven in 10 Americans favor restricting unsupervised nighttime driving for those under age 18, and 65 percent support restricting the number of non-family passengers for drivers under 18.
• When asked about the prohibition of cell phones or texting while driving for younger drivers, 81 percent are in favor.
• Support for STANDUP and its individual provisions crosses all age groups, geographic regions, and political affiliation.
The survey also shows that American drivers are highly critical of teenage drivers, giving them the lowest rating of all age groups. Eighty-one percent rate teenagers as "average" or "poor" drivers.
"Results from this survey show that Americans clearly understand that GDL laws can help save lives, and that a majority of them support a legislative solution that safely introduces teen drivers to the road," said Bill Vainisi, senior vice president and deputy general counsel, Allstate. "What's needed now is national leadership in the form of uniform standards for those GDL laws."
About the Survey
The survey of 1,000 American adults was conducted July 13, 14, 16 and 17 via landline and cell phone and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent. Of the 1,000 adults, the survey identified 848 drivers who hold a license and drive at least occasionally. The survey was conducted by Financial Dynamics (FD) for Allstate.