Graduated licensing saves lives. Why are some states slow to act?
Last month, a Minnesota teen drove through a stop sign and broadsided a tractor trailer, killing himself and leaving his passenger, also a teen, in critical condition.
The most remarkable thing about this accident, about 130 miles north of Minneapolis, is how unremarkable it was. Such tragedies happen all too often in Minnesota, which had the nation’s highest teen crash death rate from 2004 to 2006, and throughout the USA.
Why does Minnesota, a state with a reputation for good government, carry this unfortunate distinction? One key reason appears to be its weak licensing laws for teen drivers.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives only 28 states a “good” rating for enacting graduated licensing laws, which allow young drivers to take on more responsibilities one step at a time. Ten states, including Minnesota, get “marginal” ratings.