Traffic crashes remain the number one cause of death for teenagers in Wisconsin, despite efforts to help young drivers ease their way on to the roads. DOT Transportation Safety program chief Dennis Hughes says it’s an age group that requires a lot of attention, since they have little experience, drive aggressively, and can easily be distracted.
However, Hughes says significant progress has been made in helping teens learn safe driving behaviors. He credits the state’s Graduate Drivers License program with saving many lives over the past decade, since it was implemented in 2000. The GDL, which puts restrictions drivers under the age of 18, has been credited with helping to reduce the number of 16-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes and accidents.
Hughes says making teens safer on the road really comes down to education, both in the classroom and when riding with parents. He says Drivers Education only goes so far, and kids really learn many of their habits and patterns from watching their parents.