CDC: Traffic Laws Reduce Fatal Nighttime Crashes Caused By Teens


August 15, 2016

Ellis Law Corporation


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently released its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for the end of July 2016.

This report focuses on the risk of car accidents during the nighttime hours. The risk of car wrecks is greater for all drivers at night, but particularly for teenage drivers who lack extensive experience behind the wheel. The CDC suggests that tougher laws which are more uniform across the states could help to reduce fatalities and injuries during the nighttime hours.

A look at the data

To date, 49 states and the District of Columbia already have a night driving restriction (NDR) in the jurisdiction’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system. Unfortunately, these NDRs are not uniform. In D.C. and 23 states, inexperienced drivers are only restricted from getting behind the wheel at midnight or later. The highest reductions in nighttime crashes caused by teen drivers occur in states that implement NDRs beginning at 10:00 p.m.

The CDC reports that across the country, there were 6,104 drivers ages 16 and 17 who were involved in fatal crashes during 2009 to 2014. Of those, 31 percent were involved in nighttime crashes. Of those 31 percent, a full 57 percent crashed their cars prior to midnight. According to the CDC, “NDRs beginning at 12:00 a.m. or later provide minimal protection. States could consider updating their NDR coverage to include earlier nighttime hours.”

Graduated Driver Licensing system

The Graduated Driver Licensing system is intended to slowly give teen drivers greater experience behind the wheel while still limiting their exposure to the roadways to relatively low risk conditions. The concept is quite similar to the idea of learner’s permits. During the time that a teen has a learner’s permit, he or she is prohibited from driving a vehicle unless a licensed adult is also in the car. After a teen receives a provisional license under the GDL system, he or she may drive without a licensed adult, but only under certain conditions if there is an NDR in place.

In California, new drivers who have received a learner’s permit must complete at least 50 hours of driving practice with a licensed adult, at least 10 of which must be completed at night. After passing a road test, newly licensed drivers in California must still abide by certain restrictions. They are prohibited from driving between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. for the first 12 months. Although this is stricter than the midnight rule, it still falls short of what the CDC suggests is the more ideal time of 10 p.m.

Do you have a personal injury case?

Here at Ellis Law, our personal injury lawyers strongly support all laws that save lives and reduce injuries through more vigorous traffic enforcement. We are a dedicated team of professionals who aggressively fight for the legal rights of accident victims and their families.

If you or a loved one have been a victim of a reckless or negligent driver in Los Angeles, you can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our auto accident lawyers to explore options for legal recourse. Call 310-641-3335 today.