The Allstate Foundation
Myths vs. Facts
GDL treats teens unfairly
GDL is a licensing system that is fair to all citizens.
The GDL Licensing system helps ensure new drivers are experienced before they can earn a full, unrestricted license. GDL policies are similar to other licensing systems, including laws for motorcycle and commercial truck drivers. In some states, state licensing agencies assess motorcycle operator skills and restrict drivers from full privileges until their experience and skills increase. To earn a Commercial Driver's license, a person must undergo extensive training and serve as a student driver under professional supervision for several months.
Teens do not like GDL
Teens overwhelmingly support GDL.
More than two-thirds of teens support a GDL law that has all of the provisions contained in currently proposed federal legislation. Teen support of GDL is evident in all geographic regions of the country and among states with varying degrees of current restrictions. Why do teens support a law that seems to restrict their movement? They know they are inexperienced drivers and are more prone to crashes. Many teens have experienced firsthand the loss of a friend in a tragic crash. The evidence is simply too strong for teens to ignore. Teens recognize the benefits of GDL, and they support it.
Parents do not support GDL.
Large majorities of parents of teen drivers across the nation support GDL.
Strong parental support of GDL (up to 95 percent) has been reported in several national and state surveys of parents in urban and rural communities, across all demographic groups and geographic regions. Parents support GDL because they know the laws keep their kids safer.
GDL is a government edict that tells parents what to do and make life more difficult for parents.
Most parents understand GDL is a minor incovenience that limits only the most dangerous trips teen make.
Less than 10 percent of teens' trips involve more than one passenger and less than 20 percent of trips occur after 9 p.m. Yet, these are the situations that create some of the most hazardous driving situations for teens. Many parents support GDL because they know that it makes parenting easier. Laws empower parents. When a law is enacted, many parents find they can more easily establish and enforce their own rules that match those of the law.
GDL passenger restrictions will cause crashes to increase when more teens are driving alone.
GDL is proven to reduce crashes.
A study from Johns Hopkins University found that even if all teens complied with the restriction by driving alone, passenger limits would still be effective in reducing crashes simply because the crash risk when teens travel with teens is many times higher than when they travel alone. While there may be more teens on the road, they will be safer drivers.
Enforcement of GDL is difficult and takes law enforcement resources away from other crimes.
GDL is largely enforced by parents, not by law enforcement.
GDL laws are somewhat unique in traffic safety by producing significant reductions in crashes without significant increases in enforcement. More than 70 research studies have validated significant reductions in crash risk from GDL, although no state has established intensive police enforcement of GDL
GDL is an unfunded mandate.
No new demands on the federal budget.
GDL is not an unfunded mandate for the federal government or states. Federal incentives to the states would be shifted from discontinued highway safety programs. Federal GDL would require states to make only minor changes in licensing. These minor administrative costs pale in comparison to the savings that states, municipalities and the private sector will reap from GDL, which are estimated to be $13.6 billion annually across the nation.