- Helping you drive happy

Massachusetts' curfew for junior drivers proves a success

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In 2007, the state of Massachusetts passed a law forbidding junior drivers (age 16-17) from driving between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. in an attempt to reduce crashes caused by driver drowsiness. First-time offenders have their licence suspended for 60 days; second and third offences result in 180 days and a full year, respectively, without a licence.

Well, the stats are in, and nighttime accident rates are down significantly. But why was such legislation adopted in the first place?

"In young people, when sleep pressure becomes high, the sleep switch is working so well," said Charles Czeisler, chief of the division of sleep and circadian disorders at Brigham and Women's hospital in Boston. "Young people are more vulnerable. It will seize control, and people will sail off the side of the road and into a telephone pole." 

The accident rate of 16- and 17-year-old drivers fell 19.1%  when compared with drivers older than 20 in the five years after the law was implemented. According to Czeisler, state authorities might want to consider extending some form of control on 18- and 19-year-old drivers.

What do you think of this law? Should it come into force in Canada as well?