(WXYZ) - More than 500 lives could be saved each year if states enacted tougher teen driving laws, according to a new study.
Researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) based their study on five components of the strictest teen driving laws in the nation:
Each state has different versions of these components, but researchers say fatal traffic accidents involving teens could be reduced significantly if each state adopted the strictest version of all components.
For example, in Connecticut, teenagers must be 16 years old to receive their learner's permit. In Michigan, the age is 14 years and nine months. According to the study, if Michigan adopted Connecticut's version of the permit law and required teens to be 16 to receive their permit, the number of deadly crashes in Michigan would be reduced by 16 percent.
Traffic deaths could be reduced by 13 percent if Michigan adopted New Jersey's law that requires a teen to be 17 years old before receiving his or her driver's license. Currently, teens in Michigan must be 16 to receive their driver's license.
Researchers also looked at the impact of having other teen passengers in the car. Several states, such as California, Georgia and Nevada, prohibit any teenage passengers from riding in a vehicle driven by a teen driver. Michigan currently allows teen drivers to have one other teen in the car who is not a family member, but researchers say if Michigan followed states like California, which prohibits teen passengers, the number of fatal accidents would decrease by 16 percent.
The IIHS has set up an online tool that shows how each component affects the number of deadly crashes. You can access the tool by clicking here .
If Michigan adopted the strictest versions of all five components, the number of fatal crashes across the state would drop by 41 percent and the number of collisions caused by teen drivers would drop by 14 percent.
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