POSTED: Friday, June 1, 2012 - 9:00am
UPDATED: Friday, June 1, 2012 - 9:00am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Tougher licensing laws are saving teen lives according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Since 1996 when states began enacting graduated driver licensing rules, the death rates for teenage drivers has plummeted.
"So for 16 year olds, for example, per capita fatal crash rates have fallen by more than 60 percent," notes Anne McCartt, IIHS vice president of research.
It's a drop the agency credits to a range of new limitations put on teen drivers, including higher age requirements, longer supervised practice hours, night time driving restrictions and one of the most important, a ban on all teen passengers.
"There's a 21 per cent reduction in the fatal crash rate associated with allowing no passengers versus allowing two or more passengers," McCartt explains.
While each state is different, the study shows the stricter the restrictions, the more time a teen-driver has to learn and mature behind the wheel.
Those behind this new study say parents shouldn't just leave it up to their state to determine when and how their teen starts driving.
It may not be a popular decision at home, but it could save lives on the road.
According to the study, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey are among the states with the best licensing practices due to their permit age and restrictions on new drivers.
South Dakota and Iowa rank among the worst.