TUCSON, AZ – Although a recent nationwide study might lead you to believe that Utah is handing out driver’s licenses like candy on Halloween — particularly in comparison to states with strict licensing laws like Maryland, Virginia and Kentucky – state officials say that’s not really the case.

That research into learner permits and driving tests throughout the United States was conducted by personal injury lawyers at Zanes Law in Arizona to reveal which states make it most difficult to obtain a drivers license.

Those attorneys investigated several categories of state license limitations and then factored them into an index to create an overall score out of 100 for each state.

Maryland was revealed to be the state where it is hardest to qualify for a driver’s license.

The Zanes Law findings showed that Maryland has one of the most challenging knowledge tests in the county, requiring a score of 88 percent to pass.

The Chesapeake state also requires its new drivers to wait until they are age 18 to use a vehicle without restrictions or supervision.

The Zanes Law analysis was based on data from the Governors Highway Safety Association.

On the somewhat less than scientific rating scheme developed by attorney’s at Zanes Law, Maryland scored 81.16 in terms of the difficulty in obtaining a driver’s license. On the same scale, Utah ranks 33rd, with an index score just shy of 50.

“Maryland is known for its dicey weather, traffic congestion and complex roadways which can make driving more challenging,” according to a study spokesperson. “This explains why their driver’s test is one of the most difficult, as new drivers must feel confident driving in such conditions and demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the state’s traffic laws.”

For most new drivers, however, confidence – although not necessary justified – isn’t the problem. The real problem with their driving is lack of experience and skills.

Young people in the age group 16–to-20 years of age are the ones most likely to be involved in fatal auto crashes, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. That’s why many states – including Utah — place limitations on learner’s permits and licenses for new drivers.

In fact, officials of the Utah Department of Public Safety say that the Beehive State as a list of restrictions for minors and teens about as long as your arm.

Here in Utah, although a 15-year-old can apply for a learner’s permit to drive, he or she cannot apply for a license until they reach the age of 16.

Even after a license is issued, a new driver may not operate a motor vehicle on any public roadway with any passenger who is not a member of this or her immediate family. This restriction applies for the first six months after a license is issued or until the driver reaches the age of 18, whichever comes first.

A de facto curfew from the hours of 12 a.m. to 5 p.m. also exists for new drivers, with the exception of youngsters involved in agricultural operations under the direction of a farmer or rancher.

Utah also requires that new drivers must have received at least six months of practical experience prior to applying for a driver’s license at age 16; must have completed a driver’s education course; must have completed the online Traffic Safety and Trends Exam; and also must pass eye, written knowledge and driving skills tests.

In addition to Maryland, other states in the top ten ranking compiled by Zanes Law analysts were Virginia (with a index score of 76.84); Kentucky (70.62); Pennsylvania (69.76);Indiana (68.95); New Jersey (68.71); Nevada (67.34); Connecticut (67.02); Rhode Island (66.56); and Hawaii (62.94).

Since its founding in 2003, the personal injury attorneys at Zanes Law have been focused on helping accidents victims.

For more information about the recent nationwide study, please go online to www.zaneslaw.com

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