(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Getting a driver's license is an exciting milestone for teens.
To help 16-year-olds stay focused when learning the rules of the road and reduce the number of accidents and deaths, minors are enrolled in graduated driver's license programs. Now a new study finds that these programs lose effectiveness after a certain age.
At one time, GDL programs became so effective all 50 states adopted laws limiting nighttime driving and restricting the number of passengers in the vehicle with first-time drivers. Fatal crashes among enrollees dropped 26 percent.
But a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that upon graduation from the program at age 18, fatal crashes climbed 12 percent.
Researchers did not determine why more fatal crashes occur among 18-year-olds.
While extending the program could be beneficial, the researchers suggest that some lessons about driving alone can only be learned with experience.
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