According to a recent U.S News & World Report article investigating national teen driving safety, Iowa ranks 49th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia.
This ranking was achieved using information gathered by the federal government and independent organizations, including car accident fatality, road-quality, driver’s license statistics and previous ratings of driving and road and safety laws.
“A lot of the criteria has to do with graduated driving licensing,” said a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Transportation, Dena M. Gray-Fisher.
Iowa was one of the first states to pass a graduated driver’s license law, in1999. The law requires that new drivers undergo training and supervision hours. Limitations on when and with whom they may drive are lifted in a gradated manner based on their performance.
Although teens and young drivers comprise only 17 percent of the state’s residents, they are involved in or responsible for 40 percent of car accidents.
“Iowa has had a tendency to have relatively weak teen driving policy,” said Corinne Peek-Asa, director of the University of Iowa’s Injury Prevention Research Center.
Gov. Chet Culver signed into law a bill April 28 that makes it illegal for those under the age of 17 in the back seat to not wear a seat belt, and on July 1, a ban on teenage cell phone use while driving will be going into effect.
Some teen drivers are responsible and mature. Many others are not, either due to technological distractions (phones), bad decisions (drinking and driving), or a physiological inclination to incorrectly assess threats. If you or someone you know has been injured by a reckless teen driver, contact the Iowa reckless driving attorneys of LaMarca & Landry, P.C., at 877-327-2600.