NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


October 21, 2008

Washington, DC - National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker emphasizes the importance of protecting our youth on our highways at the start of National Teen Driver Safety Week.  This begins a week long effort to bring teens, community leaders, educators, and parents together to help prevent teen crashes and injuries.

"Highway crashes involving young drivers will remain a serious and persistent problem unless concrete and comprehensive steps are taken," said Rosenker.  "Our young people are this Nation's most valuable resource and too many of them are being killed and injured."

National Teen Driver Safety Week was established by Congress last year to focus attention on the nation's epidemic of teen car crashes and to find solutions to lower teen drivers' fatal crash risk. The theme for this year is "Passengers".

In 1993, the Safety Board recommended that States implement a comprehensive provisional license system for young novice drivers, also known as graduated driver licensing (GDL).  This model program requires young novice drivers to proceed through three stages - a learner's permit, an intermediate or provisional license, and a full license. 

In 2002, the Safety Board added a passenger restriction to its original GDL recommendation after investigating several crashes and reviewing new research on the involvement of young novice drivers in crashes.  The Board found that the risk of a crash involving teenage driver increases with each additional teen passenger in the vehicle.  More recently, the Board added a ban on the use of electronic communications devices while driving to its model GDL Program.

Young drivers typically carry more passengers in their cars than older drivers, and these passengers are usually around the same age as the driver.  Often this results in a deadly combination of inattention, inexperience, and immaturity.  The Board emphasizes that a comprehensive GDL system is one of the most effective actions a State can take to save both young lives and the lives of others involved in crashes with young drivers.   

NTSB Media Contact:
Keith Holloway
(202) 314-6100



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.