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Fewer Car Accidents for Massachusetts Teens

Last year there were over 1,500 motor vehicle collisions resulting in personal injury involving 16-17 year old drivers; there were a dozen wrongful deaths from those motor vehicle accidents.  While teen age drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident in Massachusetts than older drivers, the gap is narrowing since the 2007 law requiring increased training for Massachusetts drivers.  What is the true cause of reduced accidents?

Information is coming out that the law’s latent effect, that is, causing fewer teenage drivers, may be the reason for fewer teenage motor vehicle accidents.  Here’s what it looks like:  there are about 25% fewer teenage drivers since 2007. The reasons are antidotal, perhaps, but they may be as a result of the new driving law.  Requiring more drivers’ education increases costs, which results in fewer folks being able to afford those costs.  The times may be a factor as well – using public transportation and bicycles are more hip, apparently.  The price of fuel may be a factor as well.

2006 Massachusetts Teenage Driving Law

The legislature passed a new law in 2006, which went into effect in September 2007, greatly increasing the requirements for teenage drivers.  Those requirements included enhanced drivers education, strict rules for new drivers and larger penalties for teenage driving infractions.  For example, during the first six months, a teenage driver cannot drive with any passenger other than family members.  The penalty is 60 days of license suspension for a first offense; 180 days for a second offense; and, 1 year for a third offense.  Second, new drivers cannot drive between midnight and 5 a.m.  The penalties are the same.  A junior operator found speeding will get a 90 days loss of license for a first offense and a year for a second offense.

Furthermore, the 2006 requirements included proving that you have 40 hours of driving experience with a parent or guardian, your parent must participate in a 2 hour driver’s education class, and drivers education for the new driver must include both “observing” and 12 hours of behind the wheel experience with a certified instructor.

In 2009, the written portion of the Massachusetts learner’s permit exam was lengthened from 20 to 25 questions.

Questions for Massachusetts Drivers in the Long Run

Will learning to drive at a later age increase or decrease driving skills?  Won’t the lower number of Massachusetts drivers taking drivers education harm public safety on the roads?   Does this new law result in more, or less, overall driver’s education?

Teenage Accident Victims Should Seek an Experienced Attorney

Anyone injured as a result of the negligence of a teenage driver should seek the skills and experience of an attorney who has handled similar cases.  Attorney Neil Burns has worked with families who are victims of teenage driving accidents, including fatalities.  Special skills are often involved because there are often witnesses who are friends, or former friends, or colleagues.  And, believe it or not, many teenagers don’t tell the whole truth to their parents, or the police.

Call our office at 617-227-7423 for a free consultation.