NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


November 6, 2002

Washington, D.C. -- National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Carol J. Carmody today addressed a Graduated Driver Licensing Symposium in Chatham, Massachusetts, at which she announced new Safety Board recommendations aimed at protecting young, novice drivers, those who ride with them, as well as other drivers.

The first recommendation asks that all states restrict young, novice drivers with a provisional (intermediate) license, unless accompanied by a supervising adult driver who is at least 21 years old, from carrying more than one passenger under the age of 20 until they receive an unrestricted license or for at least six months (whichever is longer). The second recommendation asks that all states require that during the learner's permit stage the adult supervising driver be age 21 or older.

The Safety Board became involved in this issue in 1993 when it adopted nine recommendations designed to reduce teen fatalities. A year later, Youth Highway Safety was placed on the Board's Most Wanted List of safety improvements and has remained on the list since then.

Recent data raise concerns regarding youth on our highways. The number of people killed in crashes involving young drivers has not changed very much in the last five years. In 2000, 6.8 percent of the driving population was 20 years old or younger, yet they were involved in 14 percent of fatal crashes. Furthermore, statistics show that traffic crashes are the leading cause of deaths of 15 to 20 year olds in the United States. A review of single vehicle crashes involving teenagers show that these crashes account for 67 percent of the fatally injured passengers between the ages of 15 and 19.

Additionally, the Safety Board found that there is no uniformity among the states in graduated driver licensing regulations and only seven states (California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin) had provisions that included a: three-stage driver licensing system; passenger limitation of none or one; passenger restrictions of at least six months; and require that the supervising driver be age 21 or older in both the learner's and provisional stages. All four elements are recommended by the Safety Board for a complete Graduated Driver's License program.

The National Safety Council's Graduated Drivers License Symposium, is sponsored by the General Motors Corporation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Nationwide Insurance. The three-day event, which runs through tomorrow, is being attended by individuals who are responsible for the manner in which young and novice drivers in the United States are licensed.

The Safety Board's new recommendations and the Chairman's comments from today's symposium are available on the Board's website at: www.ntsb.gov.

NTSB Media Contact:
Terry N. Williams



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.