Texting behind the wheelEnlarge Photo
A new survey conducted by Allstate Insurance finds that a majority of Americans, nearly six in 10, favor a national law that establishes minimum requirements for state graduated driver licensing (GDL).
That’s not all the survey finds, although the results may not be all that shocking. The survey of 1,000 American adults conducted in mid-July, which included 848 identified as having a driver’s license and at least driving occasionally, revealed that respondents are highly critical of teenage drivers. In fact, 81 percent of those surveyed rate teen drivers as “average” or “poor” drivers.
Why is this important? What do survey results like this mean? For one thing, the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STANDUP) Act is currently pending in Congress. STANDUP is part of the Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Improvement Act of 2011, also known as “Mariah’s Law” for the Arkansas teen killed in a crash involving texting.
Key aspects of STANDUP: Uniform standards to restrict teen nighttime driving, limiting the number of passengers in the car, prohibiting cellphone use while driving, and permits and license issuance with special age requirements and in a gradual, phased-in process.
The Allstate survey specifically asked questions to gauge respondents’ opinion relative to these provisions of the pending STANDUP Act. There was broad support for STANDUP and its individual provisions across geographic regions, political affiliation and age groups. Some of the survey results include the following:
- 81 percent favor prohibiting cell phone use or texting while driving by younger drivers
- 76 percent back a minimum age of 16 to receive a learner’s permit
- 69 percent favor requiring three stages of licensing for young drivers
- 70 percent favor restricting nighttime driving that is unsupervised for drivers under the age of 18
- 65 percent support restricting the number of passengers that are non-family for drivers under the age of 18
For a look at more survey results covering a slightly different angle, see “Two Out Of Three Drivers Think They’re More Skilled Than You” in our sister publication, TheCarConnection.