Bill in Congress Would Change Licensing Process for the Better


If the STANDUP act is put into practice, then it could decrease the amount of teenager car crashes. -- Lizzie Orman

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of deaths among teenagers in the United States. In fact, according to, the fatality rate for teenage drivers between the ages of 16 to 19 is four times the fatality rate for everyone ages 25 to 69. How can that be? How can teenagers be so much more likely to die in a car accident? More importantly, what can be done to change this disturbing trend?

Answering the prayers of many a parent is the U.S. Congress, which is doing something that may actually make change for the better. Proposed by Representative Tim Bishop of New York, the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act (STANDUP), would involve a three-stage licensing process. This would mean that students would receive their permits at 16 years old and their unrestricted licenses at 18 years old.

Basically, the STANDUP bill proposes a law similar to the driving procedures already set in Maryland, but nationalizes them. That means that, in North and South Dakota, for instance, where kids can get their permit at age 14, and after six months of having it, they can get their full unrestricted license, the law will change. Every teen everywhere will be subject to the same set of rules.

Once everyone is operating under the same system, change is guaranteed. It is a well-known fact that in the United States every 15 minutes someone dies from an alcohol-related collision. Teenagers, who are actually less likely to get behind the wheel under the influence, are unfortunately much more prone to making fatal mistakes. However, it possible that STANDUP can cure this.

According to, if a teenager has a run-in with the law of any kind, under the STANDUP legislation, the timeframe for getting their license can increase dramatically. And if one thinks about it, those teens that are more likely to speed or drive recklessly, and thus be caught by the STANDUP bill, are also more likely to drive under the influence. Therefore, in a roundabout way STANDUP could be exactly what this country needs to curb the outrageous number of teen driving fatalities.

Like all legislation, however, STANDUP does have its opponents. Some legislators argue that STANDUP just gives the government more regulatory power over the states. Usually, I would be inclined to agree with them, as I hate seeing power go to the government, but for once I think that Congress has it right. I am all for legislation that saves lives in such a simple, harmless way.

When asked whether or not he supported the bill, senior Danny Wolf said, “I think [STANDUP] provides a great way to deal with the huge problems facing teen drivers.” I could not have said it better myself, and personally I look forward to seeing this bill passed. If lawmakers can stand up to pressure to do what they know is right for the nation’s teens, then STANDUP will succeed.