More and more states are turning to graduated licensing programs to help ease teen drivers into the fine art of driving defensively. The states where graduated driving license programs are in place show a significant decline in the number of collisions caused by teenage drivers and a reduction in the number of fatalities.

Texas is just one of the states with a graduated driving license program for teenagers. New Jersey and New York also use graduated driving license programs to help get teen drivers ready to hit the road. These states have all seen an improvement in the rate of collisions caused by teen drivers.

The fact is teenage drivers do cause more accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control traffic crashes are the number one cause of death for teens and young adults. Any attempt to control this deadly statistic and bring those numbers down seems like a very good idea indeed.

To be published in the September 2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, the study concludes that state GDL laws and “use-and-lose” laws concerning alcohol are improving teens’ chances for survival in such states.Here’s a harsh fact that precipitated the study: Teens are just 5 per cent of all the drivers on the road, but teens are involved in 20 per cent of all traffic accidents, many of which involve alcohol and many of which are fatal.

The purpose of GDL laws is to put new, young drivers on a slow and steady track to full driving privileges. It lays out a route to gaining experience and skill at the wheel in stages while a novice driver operates a vehicle with certain restrictions.

For instance, Texas’ GDL law includes provisions for new drivers to drive for at least six months with a learner license before gaining a provisional license. And even then, they must not operate a wireless communications device such as a cell phone except in emergencies, and they must not drive with more than one other person in the vehicle who’s under 21 and not a member of the family.