NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


September 30, 2003

Washington, D.C. --National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Ellen G. Engleman today recognized DaimlerChrysler's new "Road Ready Teens" program. The program is designed to assist in efforts to cut down on the number of deaths and injuries suffered by teens on our nation's highways, and supports graduated drivers licensing programs that provide multi-tiered licensing for novice drivers.

"The combination of inexperience and immaturity can be deadly, especially for teens," said Chairman Engleman. "DaimlerChrysler's new program will teach young people to be responsible and safe drivers," Engleman added. "Effective driver's education must go beyond the basics of parking and three-point turns."

DaimlerChrysler's "Road Ready Teens" program is based on proven graduated driving guidelines. It consists of a parent's guide with information, tools, and techniques parents need to help their teens learn safe-driving skills before they tackle high risk driving situations. The program also features a web-based, interactive driving video game for teens.

The game Road Ready Teens StreetWise, which is a component of the new program, will challenge teens and illustrate the risks they face, teach them the importance of gaining experience and visually demonstrate why complying with the rules is vital. It will include e-mail challenges to encourage young men and women to pass game situations and scores onto their friends via the Web. The website also contains information on State graduated driver license laws.

Graduated driver licensing (GDL) is a concept that the NTSB has aggressively been pushing for all 50 States and the District of Columbia to adopt since 1993, and an issue that is on the agency's Most Wanted List of safety improvements. The NTSB recommends introducing the driving privilege gradually for beginning drivers, while emphasizing the need for extensive supervised driving experience. A three-phase system is needed including a learner's permit with a 6-month minimum holding period; followed by an intermediate phase with a minimum holding period and restrictions on teen passengers, night driving, and cell phone use while driving; and, finally a full license. As skills and maturity develop, the new driver can proceed to full licensure.

"The NTSB is aggressive in its pursuit of highway safety," Engleman said. "With nearly 43,000 deaths on our nation's roads last year, we must work to close all of our safety recommendations. For the safety of our teens, all states must adopt graduated drivers license laws and work with safety partners to properly educate all drivers on highway safety," she added.

Although drivers age 15 to 20 comprise only 7 percent of licensed drivers, they are involved in more than 15 percent of all fatal crashes. Traffic crashes are the number one cause of fatalities for teenagers.

Night driving, teen passengers, cell phone use and other distractions increase the risk for crashes dramatically. Statistics show that the fatal crash rate for 16-year-old drivers is about twice as high at night, and 16-year-old drivers are almost 5 times as likely to be in a crash when traveling with peer passengers.

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.