Posted by Edmond Geary | Posted in DUI, Driving offenses, Traffic violations | Posted on 11-03-2010
Cause and effect are often too casually connected as connections claimed between them are less then sure in nature. Given this cautionary proviso, the enactment of one recent law does seem to have achieved its intended success. Graduated driver’s licenses appear to have lowered fatal accidents in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma enacted the law in 1999, and since that time fatality crashes involving 16 and 17-year-old drivers has dropped from 75 in the year 2000 to 39 in the year 2008. Accidents generally were also down in that period. The accidents in question involved a 16 or 17-year-old as at least one of drivers in the accident.
Preliminary data for the year 2009 indicate the number of such accidents was 38, which would be an even greater drop.
The total number of crashes (not just fatal crashes) involving 16- and 17-year-olds dropped from 11,837 in the year 2000 to 7,597 in the year 2008. The latest highway report shows that from the year 2000 to the year 2008, 16- and 17-year-olds made up 3 percent of the licensed drivers in the state of Oklahoma, but drivers from that age group were involved in 7.1 percent of the accidents and in 4.7 percent of the fatal crashes.
The graduated driver’s license allows 16-year-olds who have had a learner’s permit for six months to obtain an intermediate driver’s license, provided they have logged at least 40 hours behind the wheel, have no traffic convictions, and have passed the driving skills examination of the driver’s test.
The intermediate license allows the 16-year-old to drive except during the hours between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 o’clock a.m. or at any time when accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old.
Things other than age contribute to accidents and need to be addressed. As criminal defense lawyers know, these issues include avoiding distractions, obeying the speed limits, and wearing seat belts.
Noteworthy from the nine-year study in the years 2000 to 2008 is the statistic that of the 169 teen drivers killed, 58.6 percent were not wearing seat belts. In those last two years of the study, 2007 and 2008, more than 2 percent of total crashes involved drinking and driving. In that same two-year period, the primary contributing factor from more than half the crashes was driving at what the reporters determined to be an “unsafe speed, ” with “failure to yield” and “inattention” also significant contributing factors.