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Continued: Minnesota's teen driver rules cut down on crashes

  • Article by: , JENNA ROSS
  • Last update: September 28, 2013 - 10:09 PM

In a 2010 national study of these so-called graduated license laws, Pinar Karaca-Mandic, an assistant professor in the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, came to a similar conclusion. “We find that [these] policies reduce the number of 15-17 year-old accidents by limiting the amount of teenage driving rather than by improving teenage driving,” her paper says.

Knowing how these laws work is essential to crafting better rules, Karaca-Mandic said by phone last week. “Now, it might make sense to focus on some of the provisions that are supposed to improve driving and try to strengthen them.”

Or maybe not. If it works to take teens off the road, maybe the laws ought to simply do more of that, Karaca-Mandic said, delaying driving until teens are more mature.

“From a public health standpoint, what are we concerned about? Reducing teen crash rates,” she said. “So whatever works best.”


Jenna Ross • 612-673-7168


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  • Tire skid marks were visible off Buck Hill Road where classmates and friends of Frederick J. Alexander, 16, of Burnsville, and Alesha K. Roehl, 17, of Northfield, were killed in an August 2012 car accident. Five teens were in the car when it sped off a Burnsville frontage road, rolled over and wound up on Interstate 35 in Burnsville.

  • Connor Mielke, 15, and his parents Steven and Jennifer listened to speaker Gordy Pehrson , traffic safety coordinator for the Department of Public Safety, during the Point of Impact free seminar for parents with teens who are about to drive.

  • Gordy Pehrson, coordinator for the Office of Traffic Safety: Parents “can make stricter rules.”

  • Minnesota Graduated Driver’s License Law

    Nighttime restrictions:

    For first six months, no driving between midnight and 5 a.m.

    Passenger Limitations:

    For first six months, only one passenger under 20, unless accompanied by parent or guardian; for second six months, no more than three passengers under age 20, unless accompanied by parent or guardian

    (Exception: Passenger under age 20 who are members of immediate family are permitted)

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