Placing restrictions on teenage driving may save the lives of many young people, say researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA. The study claims that more lives are saved when more restrictions are imposed.

In some US states, there is a waiting period between a learners permit and an intermediate licence, limits are set on night driving, an adult driver has to supervise the 16-year-old for a number of hours, the young driver cannot carry more than a certain number of passenger. States that imposed these restrictions have seen significant falls in traffic deaths among 16-year-olds. Such restriction programs reduced car deaths linked to 16-year-olds by 11% to 21% per year.

Study team member, Susan P. Baker, said “We already knew that the programs reduced crash rates of young drivers, but we didn’t know which programs were most effective in reducing risk. It is clear that more comprehensive programs have the greatest effect.?

More US teenagers die as a result of a traffic accident than any other cause. In 2004, 957 16-year-olds were involved in crashes which resulted in the deaths of 1,111 people – among the dead were 399 drivers aged 16 and 385 passengers aged 16.

In the United Kingdom you cannot have a learners permit (provisional licence) before the age of 17.

Minimum Driving Age by Country:

Australia – 16, 17, 18 (depends on which part of the country)
Belgium – 18
Canada – 16
China – 18
Denmark – 18
Finland – 18
France – 18
Germany – 18
Iceland – 17
India – 18
Ireland – 17
Italy – 18
Japan – 18
Luxembourg – 18
Malta – 18
Netherlands – 18
Norway – 18
Poland – 17
Portugal – 18
Russia – 18
Spain – 18
Sweden – 18
Switzerland – 18
U.K. – 17

Written by: Christian Nordqvist
Editor: Medical News Today