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STANDUP (Act) for Teen Driver Safety

Turning 16 is an iconic age for teens in America. The birthday traditionally marks the first steps to adulthood by providing teens with a new found freedom - a driver's license.

In the last few years, under the flag of safety, many states have begun to institute a Graduated Driver's License (GDL) program, Texas included, for young and beginning drivers. GDL programs usually involve a multi-tiered process of restrictions up to full licensure at the age of 18. However, the GDL movement appears to be going federal now.


In 2009, the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act (STANDUP Act) was introduced in Congress. The Act calls upon states to adopt uniform minimum GDL standards, including:

  • A three-tiered licensing process - learner's permit, intermediate, unrestricted license
  • Age restrictions on when a teen is able to obtain a learner's permit (16-years-old) and an unrestricted license (18-years-old)
  • No driving at night, unless supervised, until unrestricted license is obtained
  • No use of cell phone or other communication devices while driving, except for emergency situations
  • A restriction on passengers - no more than one non-familial passengers under 21-years-old, unless a licensed driver 21-years-old or older is in the vehicle

The STANDUP Act appears to be a natural response to the startling statistics of teen driving. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Per mile driven, teen drivers, aged 16 to 19 are four times more likely to crash than drivers 20-years-old or older
  • Teens are at a higher risk of a car accident during the first year of driving eligibility
  • Approximately 3,000 teens were killed in car accidents in 2009

While 16-years-old will always remain an iconic birthday, the STANDUP Act strives to keep many of those teens on the road to the next milestones of life. The Act appears to be a step in the right direction for driving safety, particularly amongst teen and new drivers. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, speak with an experienced attorney to discuss your rights and options.

Related Resource: Safe Roads 4 Teens "Summary of STANDUP ACT"

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