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Gathered on Capitol Hill this week was a coalition of parents, teens, pediatricians, safety advocates, insurance and other business executives who joined Senate and House sponsors to support the introduction of a national teen driving legislation.

This legislations would push states to impose tougher requirements on young drivers by requiring three stages of licensing — learner’s permit, intermediate stage, and full licensure — and set 16 as the earliest age for entry into the learner’s permit process.

The Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STANDUP) Act, sets minimum standards for these Graduated Drivers License (GDL) laws which are designed to phase young novice drivers into full driving privileges gradually over time so they gain behind-the-wheel experience and develop driving skills in lower-risk conditions.

States must meet the following requirements under the STANDUP Act:

Three stages of licensing – learner’s permit, intermediate stage, and full licensure – should be used

Age 16 should be the earliest age for entry into the learner’s permit process

Nighttime driving while unsupervised should be restricted during the learner’s permit and intermediate stages, until full licensure at age 18

Driving while using communication devices (cell phone calls, texting) should be prohibited at least until full licensure at age 18

Unrestricted, full licensure should occur no earlier than age 18

Passengers should be restricted – no more than one non-familial passenger under age 21 unless a licensed driver over age 21 is in the vehicle – until full licensure at age 18

"Every teen in every state should be protected by an effective and comprehensive GDL law," said Jackie Gillan, vice president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. "Over the last five years alone, over 40,000 teens have died in motor vehicle crashes and hundreds of thousands more have suffered debilitating injuries. The economic and emotional costs for parents, family and friends are unacceptable and unnecessary."

The GDL laws have been proven to reduce deaths and injuries among young, inexperienced drivers and those who share the road with them. It is time for everyone to “stand up” and put safety first.

Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by plaintiffs involved in pending, personal injury litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association as well as their ABA Advisory Committee, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

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