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Federal officials focus on teen driving regulations, II

In our prior post, we discussed the ever-lasting topic of teen driving. Whether it is your A-student or your troubled teen, both can be equally distracted. It isn't about their desire to drive safely; it is about their inexperience in driving, in life.

Every state across the country has some form of graduated license structure for new drivers. In New Jersey, a teen can get a learner's permit at the age of 16. The next step is the ability to drive unsupervised until the age of 18 when they obtain their full, unrestricted license. During those two years, they are not allowed to drive with more than one passenger.

Although every state has a graduated license structure, the regulations vary immensely on the "strict" scale, and federal officials say more needs to be done. A transportation bill was signed into law earlier this month by President Obama that encouragers states to take a second look and tighten the rules around teen driving.

And then there is the ultimate distracted driving behavior: texting or talking on a cellphone while behind the wheel. This is a distracting behavior, but especially for teens that are already unfamiliar with the road. Every state has a graduated license program, but not everyone has a cellphone ban. Included in the "stricter rules" requested by the federal government includes tighter restrictions on the electronic use.

For eight years, the number of teen driver fatalities decreased, that was until cellphones became even more prevalent. In the beginning of 2011 alone, the fatality rate rose 11 percent. A total of 32 states regulate the behavior amongst novice drivers, but federal officials, safety advocates and victims' families want more.

Source: Kaiser Health News, "New Federal Transportation Law Encourages Stricter Teen Driving Regs," Michelle Andrews, July 30, 2012

If your teen has been injured in a car accident or you have been injured by a teen driver, our New Jersey car accident page provides more information about distracted driving collisions.

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