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Status Report, Vol. 36, No. 2 | February 17, 2001 Subscribe

Approval of graduated licensing is high in both rural areas and cities

Concern has been expressed among legislators in some rural areas that restrictions associated with graduated licensing may prove overly burdensome. The worry is that teenagers whose driving is curtailed will have to either forgo trips or prevail on parents because alternative transportation isn't an option.

But a new study conducted in North Carolina, where graduated licensing was introduced in 1997, dispels these concerns. Parents in both rural and urban counties indicated they "don't find the additional time required of them to be a particularly large intrusion," says author Robert D. Foss. About 96 percent of parents in rural and urban counties alike said they approve of North Carolina's graduated licensing system. Among 15-17 year-olds affected by the system, about 80 percent in both urban and rural counties voiced approval.

Graduated licensing is benefiting teenagers in all areas of the state. Crashes involving 16-year-old drivers have declined 25 percent in the most urban counties and 30 percent in the most rural areas.

"North Carolina graduated driver licensing system: urban-rural differences" is available from the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center.

Teen crash risk falls after 6 months

The findings of two studies bolster the argument for letting teens ease into driving with graduated licensing laws.

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