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New teen driver laws making roads safer

Monday - 6/27/2011, 5:18am  ET

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New rules for teen drivers are making the roads safer. (AP)

Max Smith, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Summer means more teen drivers on the road, but some tougher new rules may have made their trips safer for all of us.

Teen crash-deaths and injuries have dropped sharply in Maryland since new rules about who teen drivers can have in the car went into effect in October 2009.

Like Virginia, there are also curfew restrictions on when teens who are just getting their licenses can drive.

Preliminary data from Maryland, obtained by the Annapolis Capital shows that while 48 teens died in 2009 crashes, 36 did in 2010. Overall, the number of people of all ages who died in crashes involving teens fell from 106 in 2008 to 64 in 2010.

The number of teens hurt in crashes dropped too, down 17 percent.

The rules in Maryland limit provisional license holders to just one passenger and require that passengers be a family member or an adult over 18.

The laws can take on even more significance in the summer, when teens are more likely to be involved in crashes than during the rest of the year. Year-round, the Centers for Disease Control finds teenage drivers are four times more likely than other drivers to be involved in a crash.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)