Nationwide Review of Graduated Driver Licensing

This study examines the impact of graduated driver licensing programs on rates of fatal and injury crashes of 16-year-old drivers.

February 2007

Suggested Citation

For media inquiries, contact:

Tamra Johnson
202-942-2079
TRJohnson@national.aaa.com

Authors

Susan P. Baker

Li-Hui Chen

Guohua Li

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death among teenagers in the United States. Many diverse approaches, from minimum drinking age laws to driver education, have attempted to reduce the toll of motor vehicle crashes involving new drivers.

One highly promising approach is Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL), which is intended to ease new drivers onto the road in a step-by-step process in which their driving privileges are initially limited and then phased in gradually as the driver gains experience. A typical three-stage GDL program comprises a “learner” stage, during which all driving must be supervised; followed by an “intermediate” (or “provisional”) stage, during which unsupervised driving is permitted except under certain conditions (e.g., at night or with passengers); and finally full, unrestricted licensure.

This study examines the impact of GDL programs implemented in the United States between 1994 and 2004 on the involvement of 16- year-old drivers in fatal crashes and injury crashes, and identifies characteristics common to effective programs.

Results indicate that implementation of three-stage GDL programs was associated with an overall national reduction in the population-based fatal and injury crash involvement rates of 16-year-old drivers. The most comprehensive programs were associated with 38% lower rates of fatal crashes and 40% lower rates of injury crashes.

Suggested Citation

For media inquiries, contact:

Tamra Johnson
202-942-2079
TRJohnson@national.aaa.com

Authors

Susan P. Baker

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Li-Hui Chen

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Guohua Li

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health