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Allstate Foundation: GDL laws save lives, money

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Dec. 8, 2011—The Allstate Foundation’s License to Save report, developed in conjunction with the National Safety Council (NSC), revealed that implementation of comprehensive graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws in all U.S. states would save roughly 2,000 lives and $13.6 billion annually nationwide.

The Allstate Foundation said GDL laws would help new drivers gain experience under supervised and less risky conditions. The most comprehensive GDL laws include nighttime driving restrictions, passenger limits, cell phone and texting bans, mandatory behind-the-wheel driving time, a minimum entry age for learner's permits, and a minimum age of 18 before full licensure becomes available.

Teenage drivers are the most likely drivers on the road to have car accidents, according to the Allstate Foundation. The organization said crash rates among 16-year-old drivers are two times greater than 18 and 19-year-old drivers, and four times greater than older drivers.

From 2000 to 2009, more than 81,000 people were killed in crashes that involved drivers between the ages of 15 and 20, according to the Allstate Foundation. Some states with strong GDL laws have reduced teenage driving-related deaths by 40 percent.

"Teen driving deaths are a real public health crisis," said Vicky Dinges, vice president of public social responsibility for Allstate. "What's worse is that these deaths are avoidable. We can take very simple, common sense steps that would protect young drivers across the country. Our Allstate agents see firsthand the dangers for young drivers on the road, and as a company we are committed to putting an end to this epidemic."

In addition, the Allstate Foundation said the nation’s total cost of crashes involving teen drivers in 2009 was roughly $38.3 billion. The costs include wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses for public and private insurance, police and legal costs, motor vehicle damage, employers' uninsured costs and fire losses. Employers, governments and citizens paid for those costs through taxes, fees and insurance premiums, the Allstate Foundation said.

"Over the last 20 years, graduated driver licensing laws have saved an estimated 15,000 lives. These laws can save thousands of American lives and save billions of dollars for consumers, businesses and state and local governments," said Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of the NSC. "Our elected officials do not have many opportunities during their careers to take action that will save thousands of lives and billions of dollars in one legislative action. This is one of those times."

To view the Allstate Foundation’s complete License to Save report, visit allstatenewsroom.com.

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