Driving at night affects your ability to see and be seen by other motorists. It takes experience to drive safely in the dark — something teenage drivers do not have.
A recent study published by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests an early curfew for teen drivers. The study found that about one in three fatal crashes involving teenaged drivers take place at night. Scientists believe that getting teens off the road earlier in the evening will help keep them safe, NPR reports.
Currently, 49 states restrict nighttime driving for teenagers in some way. But 23 states and the District of Columbia have curfews for unsupervised teen drivers that do not begin until midnight or later. Most nighttime car wrecks involving teens take place after midnight, researchers say. The study suggests a 9 or 10 p.m. curfew instead. In California, a driver under age 18 cannot drive unsupervised after 11 p.m. for the first year they have their license.
Meanwhile, the teens would continue to drive at night with adult supervision. This would give them a chance to build up nighttime driving skills, the experts say.
Legal restrictions on teen drivers can improve public safety. But often, there is no way to stop a young motorist from breaking the law until after he or she has caused a serious crash.
Driving a car is an awesome responsibility, because negligence behind the wheel can kill or permanently disable another person. This is why the law holds bad drivers financially accountable to their victims.