Hultgren Unveils STANDUP Act
Geneva, IL – At a press conference at Geneva High School, U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14) announced today that he will be the lead Republican sponsor on legislation to protect the driving public, particularly teenagers, through the nationwide adoption of Graduated Driver's License (GDL) laws.
“I was proud to support the Graduated Driver's License program in Illinois when I served in our state legislature, and I'm excited to take those same ideas to Washington, D.C. to help make our roads safer,” said Hultgren, a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. “The statistics are telling: We know that motor vehicle accidents are the number one killer of American teens and that teen drivers comprise only 7 percent of drivers on the road, yet 20 percent of all highway fatalities occur in crashes involving teen drivers. Action must be taken to educate teen drivers and protect everyone on our nation’s roadways.”
The legislation, H.R. 1515, the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STANDUP) Act of 2011, urges all states to adopt GDL laws that meet specific minimum requirements within 3 years. Those requirements include:
- A three-stage licensing process - learner’s permit, intermediate stage, unrestricted driver’s license;
- Prohibits nighttime driving in the intermediate stage when teens a driving by themselves for the first time;
- Passenger restrictions during the learner’s permit and intermediate stage (no more than 1 non-family member under the age of 21 unless a licensed driver over age 21 is in the vehicle);
- Prohibits non-emergency use of cell phones during the learner’s permit and intermediate stages;
- Learner’s permit begins at age 16 while the full licensure begins at age 18;
- Any other requirement adopted by the Secretary of Transportation, including learner’s permit holding period at least 6 months; intermediate stage at least 6 months; at least 30 hours behind-the-wheel, supervised driving by licensed driver 21 years of age or older; automatic delay of full licensure if permit holder commits an offense, such as DWI, misrepresentation of true age, reckless driving, unbelted driving, speeding, or other violations as determined by the Secretary.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death of Americans between 15 and 20 years of age and that between 1999 and 2009, more than 90,000 Americans were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving teen drivers, an average of 155 deaths per week.
They also report that the fatality rate for teen drivers is four times higher than the rate for drivers between 25 and 70 years of age and that teenage drivers who are 16 years of age have a motor vehicle crash rate that is almost 10 times higher than the crash rate for drivers between 30 and 60 years of age.
"Between cell phones, GPS devices and satellite radio, today's teen drivers are facing more distractions than the teens of prior generations," said Hultgren. “Simply acclimating teen drivers to the responsibilities and rigors of the road saves lives, and Graduated Driver's Licensing is a proven method to provide teens with the skills and experience they need to be out on the road safely.”
Hultgren added that according to the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, teen driving deaths dropped by over 40 percent in Illinois in the first full year following the 2007 implementation of a stronger graduated driver licensing law.
“We have an opportunity to act and help reduce the staggering number of teens who are killed on America’s highways,” said Allstate Senior Vice President Bill Vainisi. “Allstate proudly stands with Congressman Hultgren to advance the STANDUP Act and help save teen lives. With all of the challenges facing our nation, now is not the time to lose sight of a common-sense, bipartisan solution that is within our grasp.”
“I am a supporter of the STANDUP Act for my father whose legacy was cut short on June 13, 2007 due to an inexperienced teen driver,” said Charlene Sligting-Doud. “Throughout my dad’s life, he valued safety and protected those around him. He was a father, grand-father, firefighter and former Army officer. I know he too would have supported this legislation that will make roadways safer for everyone. Learning to drive is a complex process - minimizing exposure to risks is necessary for new drivers, and that is what the STANDUP Act will achieve. Every day 15 people die in crashes involving teen drivers. I am confident this legislation will help protect other families from suffering such a tragic loss and not end another person’s legacy.”
Jackie Gillan, vice president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) praised Rep. Hultgren, saying, “Motor vehicle crashes are the leading killer of teens. Every year more than 5,000 people die in crashes involving teen drivers. There are tremendous economic and emotional costs to parents, families, friends and neighbors when a teenager is tragically killed or seriously injured in a preventable crash. Rep. Hultgren was a leader on teen driving in the Illinois State Senate and he is bringing that same passion and energy to ensuring that every teen in every state is protected by a comprehensive teen driving law. This bi-partisan legislation is supported by the Saferoads4teens coalition consisting of national, state and local public health and safety groups, teens, parents, emergency doctors and nurses, law enforcement and leaders in the insurance industry and automobile manufacturers. We look forward to working with Rep. Hultgren to enact such an important commonsense and cost-effective bill.”
“Teen driving crashes are the leading cause of death for young adults and represent a public health crisis,” said Kyran Quinlan, MD MPH FAAP, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention. “But we already have a proven treatment for this epidemic that would prevent thousands of deaths and injuries every year: passing the STAND UP Act. This bill will assure that every new driver, no matter where he or she lives, will have the same training, the same laws, and the same protection. This bill will save lives.”