Iowa ranks near bottom in teen driving safety

Iowa ranked 49th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in a recent U.S. News & World Report investigation of national teen driving safety.

The rankings were determined using a number of variables, five of which were based on driver’s license, car accident fatality, and road-quality statistics gathered by the federal government and six of which were based on ratings of driving and road safety laws compiled by two independent organizations.

“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.

The graduated driver’s license (GDL) law, which Iowa passed in 1999, requires supervision and training hours for young drivers. Restrictions are gradually lifted on when and with whom they may drive as they become more skilled drivers.

While teens and young adults in Iowa represent only 17 percent of drivers, over 40 percent of crashes involve them.

“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 required for those under the age of 17 in the back seat to wear a seat belt, and on July 1, a ban on teenage cell phone use while driving will go 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 accident attorneys of LaMarca Law Group, P.C., at 877-327-2600.

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