A study that will be released today offers further evidence that a change in the teen driving law is needed in Arizona, AAA officials say.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study, 75 percent of the people who die when teen drivers crash are either passengers, pedestrians or occupants of other cars, outpacing the national figure of roughly 66 percent.
The way to prevent the carnage is to put time and passenger restrictions on the licenses of teens in Arizona, which is one of seven states that currently has none, and tighten the restrictions in states that do, the study concludes.
"Lack of experience and poor judgment put teens at higher risk," said AAA spokeswoman Christina Estes.
"We would love to see a system to allow novice, teen drivers to accumulate more behind-thewheel experience in low-risk settings."
Proposals to create such restrictions in Arizona have died during the last two legislative sessions, but Rep. Colette Rosati, R-Scottsdale, is trying again this year.
It prohibits drivers younger than 18 from driving between midnight and 5 a.m. unless there is a licensed passenger at least 21 years old with them or if the teen is returning from either work or a school activity.
The bill would also extend the learner’s permit time by a month to give teens more practice.
Sen. Carolyn Allen, R=Scottsdale, has fought previous measures during her 12 years in the Legislature, saying she is not convinced that restricting licenses is the answer.
"We just continue to pass more and more regulation, and if I really believed it was going to make a vast difference and they’ve got some new material, then I’d be happy to look at it," Allen said.