Graduated Driver Licensing and Teen Traffic Fatalities

In the past decade, nearly every state in the U.S. has introduced graduated driver licensing (GDL) for teens. These new licensing procedures require teen drivers to advance through distinct stages where they are subject to a variety of restrictions (e.g., adult supervision, daytime driving, passenger limits). This article reports on a study that presents data on whether these restrictions have been effective in reducing traffic fatalities among teens. These evaluations are based on state-by-year panel data from 1992 to 2002. The authors assess the reliability of their basic inferences in several ways, including an examination of contemporaneous data for older cohorts who were not directly affected by these policies. The data show that GDL regulations reduced traffic fatalities among 15-17-year-olds by at least 5.6%. They authors also note that the life-saving benefits of these regulations may be related to their restrictiveness. More restrictive policies appear to have reduced motor vehicle fatalities among 15-17-year-olds by 19%. The authors conclude that, if teenage motor vehicle fatalities are to be reduced further, more stringent GDL programs appear to be one of the few successful tools available to policymakers.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Dee, Thomas S
    • Grabowski, David C
    • Morrisey, Michael A
  • Publication Date: 2005-5


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01003978
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 10 2005 8:10AM