On July 1, 1999, a law with the goal of saving young lives on our roadways went into effect. An evaluation of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law's impact shows that a decade later, crash rates for 16 year old drivers have declined by more than 30%!

GDL laws give teenagers more practice behind the wheel after they have finished driver education classes. It requires them to be supervised by a parent or other responsible adult for the first year or longer depending on a state's law. GDL systems set up additional restrictions on night time driving, distractions, and the number of passengers allowed in a vehicle with the new teen driver during this time.

In 1998, the year before GDL was implemented, 16-year old drivers were involved in 1,001 motor vehicle crashes in our state. In 2016, 16-year old drivers were involved in 377 motor vehicle crashes, fewer than 40% the number from 18 years earlier.

To learn more, visit: www.arrivealivede.com/Drive-Smart#intro.

Online GDL Parent Orientation Program:

In 2004 officials created the Graduated Driver's License (GDL) Parent Orientation Program to educate parents of teen drivers about their responsibilities under the law. OHS has now made the program available online for all parents and sponsors.

  • Click here to view the program. (This program should work with the following browsers: Edge, and Chrome for Windows. It should also work on iPads with the accompanying iOS App.)

DMV Teen Driving Task Force:

OHS chairs and participates in the Teen Driving Task Force – reestablished by House Resolution No. 17 by the House of Representatives of the 147th General Assembly of the State of Delaware. The Task Force works to develop strategies to implement recommendations of an assessment conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Members of the task force include: Division of Motor Vehicles, Delaware State Police, Department of Education, Delaware Driver Safety Education Association, and the SmartDrive Foundation.

Past Task Force initiatives have included the launch of a teen driver website at http://www.dmv.de.gov/services/driver_services/teen/index.shtml for both teens and parents, and the availability of bright yellow, reflective Novice Driver car magnets for parents to use when teens are behind the wheel.

National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW):
Teen Driver Safety Week Coming October 2019

Congress passed a resolution establishing every third week in October as National Teen Driver Safety Week. National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW) raises awareness about the tragedy of teen vehicle crashes, which are the leading cause of death for young people in the U.S.

The Office of Highway Safety joins the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to promote the "5 to Drive" campaign to give parents the tools they need to keep their teen drivers safe. The "5 to Drive" campaign addresses the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers. The idea behind the campaign is to give parents the words to use when they talk with their teens about the rules of the road. NHTSA's website, www.safercar.gov/parents, has detailed information and statistics about the five rules designed to help save the lives of teen drivers. The "5 to Drive" rules for parents to share with their teens are:

  1. No Drinking and Driving - aalmost one out of every four young drivers (15 to 19 years old) involved in fatal crashes had been drinking, even though they were too young to legally buy or possess alcohol.
  2. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back. – 60 percent of young drivers who died in motor vehicle crashes weren't restrained.
  3. Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All. - Cell phone use is highest among 16-24 year-old drivers and female drivers using a cell phone are more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than men.
  4. Stop Speeding Before It Stops You - Over half (58%) of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding.
  5. No More Than One Passenger at a Time. - The risk of a fatal crash goes up with each additional passenger.

Crossing The Line:

The Delaware Teen Driver Task Force released a video titled "Crossing the Line." The video tells the story of a 2012 fatal crash involving 17 year-old Andre Smith who was a passenger in a speeding vehicle driven by 19 year old driver Mar'Kese Marshall-Horsey. Andre Smith was killed in the crash on April 12, 2012 on Route 896 in Middletown. "Crossing the Line" documents the consequences that many have suffered as a result of this tragic crash and will also become part of the revised Driver's Education curriculum to be distributed to all drivers' education teachers in the State of Delaware.

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