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The effect of the learner license Graduated Driver Licensing components on teen drivers’ crashes

In: Accident analysis and prevention. Vol. 59 (Oct. 2013), p. 327-336.

Authors: Johnathon Pouya Ehsania, C. Raymond Bingham, Jean T. Shope

Background: Most studies evaluating the effectiveness of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) have focused on the overall system. Studies examining individual components have rarely accounted for the confounding of multiple, simultaneously implemented components. The purpose of this paper is to quantify the effects of a required learner license duration and required hours of supervised driving on teen driver fatal crashes. Methods: States that introduced a single GDL component independent of any other during the period 1990–2009 were identified. Monthly and quarterly fatal crash rates per 100,000 population of 16- and 17-year-old drivers were analyzed using single-state time series analysis, adjusting for adult crash rates and gasoline prices. Using the parameter estimates from each state's time series model, the pooled effect of each GDL component on 16- and 17-year-old drivers’ fatal crashes was estimated using a random effects meta-analytic model to combine findings across states. Results: In three states, a six-month minimum learner license duration was associated with a significant decline in combined 16- and 17-year-old drivers’ fatal crash rates. The pooled effect of the minimum learner license duration across all states in the sample was associated with a significant change in combined 16- and 17-year-old driver fatal crash rates of −.07 (95% Confidence Interval [CI] −.11, −.03). Following the introduction of 30 h of required supervised driving in one state, novice drivers’ fatal crash rates increased 35%. The pooled effect across all states in the study sample of having a supervised driving hour requirement was not significantly different from zero (.04, 95% CI −.15, .22). Conclusion: These findings suggest that a learner license duration of at least six-months may be necessary to achieve a significant decline in teen drivers’ fatal crash rates. Evidence of the effect of required hours of supervise