GDL Restrictions Revisited

By: Justin Williams
By: Justin Williams

Word of Friday's Grant County crash, which claimed the lives of three Grant county teens hit Judy Hudson hard.

"Very upset, first thing that came to my mind was the girl and the GDL law."

Hudson has worked as the general manager at Madison's 4 Lakes Driver Training School for the past 10 years. She says, having taught students about Wisconsin's Graduated Driver's License Restrictions during the past five years, she's not impressed with the results.

"Lot of 'em don't comply, and their friends don't comply, and the parents aren't following it, and the parents aren't enforcing it, that's where it starts, with your parent and (if) the parents don't enforce it, it's not gonna happen," she says.

Sergeant Craig Vander Molen, of the Dane County Sheriff's Office, concurs. "Even though your kid has a driver's license, you still have to be the parent. You have to know where they're going, what they're doing, who they're with, and make sure they're in compliance with the law."

A recent study by a doctor at the U-W's Medical School indicates the state experienced a 15–percent decrease in the number of crashes involving 16-year-old drivers during the first three years of GDL restrictions.

But Vander Molen says enforcement of Graduated Driver's License restrictions can be restricted, itself, by limited human resources.

"It can be difficult to enforce. Again, the main thing is we just don't have any jurisdiction, we just don't have enough people out there to do that kind of enforcement."

Meanwhile, Hudson suggests a quick crack down might send an effective message.
"Once they get the word, everybody starts following suit, so I think once you start pulling over making examples, setting examples, making examples of some teens, it'll shake 'em up."

For more information on the Graduated Driver's License restrictions, call 608-266-2353.

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