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Teen driving limits should be earlier.

With the risk of a fatal motor vehicle crash higher at night, states should consider additional night driving restrictions within their graduated driver licensing programs, according to a recent study.

Published in the July 29 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the study reported that 23 states and Washington, D.C., have night driving restrictions that begin at midnight or later, when most teen drivers subject to graduated licensing rules are not driving. The study found that among drivers ages 16 or 17 who were involved in fatal crashes between 2009 and 2014, 31 percent were involved in night crashes, with more than half occurring before midnight. Researchers found that the proportion of drivers ages 16 and 17 who were involved in a fatal crash before midnight ranged from 35 percent in Washington state to 78 percent in Indiana.

Graduated driver licensing programs grant driving privileges to new drivers in stages in an effort to reduce fatal crashes.

"Because nearly all of the night driving trips taken by drivers aged 16 or 17 years end before 12 a.m., (night driving restrictions) beginning at 12 a.m. or later provided minimal protection," the study stated. "As states examine strategies to further reduce total fatal crashes among newly licensed teen drivers they could consider updating their (night driving restrictions) to include earlier nighttime hours."

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Title Annotation:NATION IN BRIEF
Author:Krisberg, Kim
Publication:The Nation's Health
Date:Oct 1, 2016
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