Rochester Personal Injury Attorney Supports Plan Aimed At Curbing Teen Driving Accidents

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Federal legislation introduced by New York lawmakers would promote safe and responsible driving by younger drivers, Rochester car accident lawyer Scott C. Gottlieb says.

[W]e need to continue to make efforts to improve the education and oversight of younger drivers.

A Rochester personal injury attorney who represents New York car accident victims said today he endorses a plan that would set a national standard for states to implement graduated driver’s license programs for teen drivers.

Two New York lawmakers, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Tim Bishop, introduced the proposed federal legislation this week, which is called the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act, or STAND UP Act.

Among other items, the plan calls for states to adopt a three-stage licensing process, prohibit night driving and limit passengers and cell phone use among drivers under the age of 18.

“As a personal injury attorney, I’ve seen the tragic consequences of crashes involving inexperienced, young drivers,” said Rochester personal injury lawyer Scott C. Gottlieb of the Law Offices of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, a New York personal injury law firm that assists car accident victims and their families throughout the region.

“That’s why I would be supportive of any plan that promotes safe and responsible driving among teen drivers and that carries the potential of reducing senseless accidents, injuries and deaths,” Gottlieb said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car crashes are the leading cause of death among American teens. Per mile driven, drivers ages 16-19 are actually four times more likely than older drivers to be involved in a car accident, the CDC reported

Between 2005 and 2009, 280 New York residents died in automobile crashes involving drivers who were ages 16-17, while more than 46,000 were injured, Sen. Gillibrand’s office stated in a news release. In the Rochester-Finger Lakes region alone, there were 37 deaths and 4,223 injuries caused by teen drivers during that same time period, Gillibrand’s office said.

“Even though New York has one of the strictest graduated driver’s license programs in the country, these numbers show that teen driving accidents are still a problem,” Gottlieb said. “That’s why we need to continue to make efforts to improve the education and oversight of younger drivers.”

Under the STAND UP Act, states would be required to set up a driver’s license process that involves three stages: Learner’s permit, intermediate and unrestricted. A driver could not reach the unrestricted stage until turning age 18. (In New York, the current age threshold is 17.)

During the learner’s permit and intermediate stages, drivers would be prohibited from night driving and from having more than one non-family passenger under age 21 unless accompanied in the car by a licensed driver over age 21. Additionally, novice drivers would be barred from using cell phones and other communication devices unless there was an emergency.

The Act would also allow the Secretary of the Department of Transportation to establish additional rules, including:

  •     Requiring the completion of 30 hours of driving supervised by a licensed driver age 21 or older; and
  •     Delaying full licensure for any teen convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI), reckless driving, driving without a seatbelt, speeding or other traffic violations.

The Act would authorize $25 million in grants to help states carry out the new scheme, while states who fail to implement it would lose federal highway funding dollars.

“Although it appears this plan would be highly effective, not even the strictest laws can entirely eliminate teen driving accidents,” Gottlieb said. “If a person is involved in an accident caused by an inexperienced driver, it’s important to contact an experienced attorney right away in order to protect your rights and legal options.”

About Law Offices of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates

Law Offices of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates handles all types of personal injury and medical malpractice cases, including cases involving drunk-driving accidents, motor vehicle accidents, wrongful death, cancer misdiagnosis, dog bites, hunting accidents, birth injuries, brain injuries, construction accidents, fall down injuries and insurance settlements. The firm regularly employs accident reconstruction experts, investigators, photographers and economists to assist them in evaluating and preparing personal injury cases. The firm features offices in Binghamton, Elmira, Rochester, Syracuse and Watertown. For more information, call 1-800-TALK-LAW or use the firm’s online contact form.

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