Exemption of behind-the-wheel driving test for novice young drivers: A serious public health concern
ACRS, DOI:10.33492/JRS-D-20-00252, https://doi.org/10.33492/JRS-D-20-00252
Submission Date: November 12, 2020 Journal
Suggested Citation: Bari, I., Paichadze, N. and Hyder, A.A. (2020). "Exemption of behind-the-wheel driving test for novice young drivers: A serious public health concern". Journal of Road Safety, 31(4), 59-61. https://doi.org/10.33492/JRS-D-20-00252
Road traffic injuries (RTIs) continue to emerge as a serious public health issue across the world; according to the World Health Organization, every year, almost 1.35 million individuals lose their lives, and approximately 25 million injuries are caused by road traffic crashes (World Health Organization, 2018). These RTIs are the leading cause of death for children and young adults between 5-29 years of age (World Health Organization, 2018).
Under the current situation of COVID-19 pandemic, there have been reports suggesting a profound decline in RTIs because of reduced traffic on the world’s roads (Job, 2020); however, amid this pandemic, some states in the United Sates have proposed controversial road traffic policies that can jeopardize road safety. The Governor of the State of Georgia, the United States, recently, through an executive order, waived the behind-the-wheel road test requirement for novice drivers who had held a driving permit for a year (The State of Georgia Government, 2020). Through this wavier, almost 20,000 teenagers were granted full driving privileges last month (Taylor, 2020). While the decision was made to address the backlog of driving tests created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and also to practice social distancing (Taylor, 2020), many public health experts are now concerned that this decision will have catastrophic consequences on road safety.