Graduated driver licensing and teen traffic fatalities


Thomas Dee


David C. Grabowski


Michael A. Morrisey

Year of Publication: 
Journal of Health Economics

Over the last 8 years, nearly every state 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). In this study, we present evidence 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. We assess the reliability of our basic inferences in several ways including an examination of contemporaneous data for older cohorts who were not directly affected by these policies. Our results indicate that GDL regulations reduced traffic fatalities among 15–17-year-olds by at least 5.6%. We also find that the life-saving benefits of these regulations were plausibly related to their restrictiveness. And we find no evidence that these benefits were attenuated by an increase in fatality risks during the full-licensure period available to older teens.

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APA Citation

Dee, T., Grabowski, D.C., & Morrisey, M.A. (2005). Graduated driver licensing and teen traffic fatalities. Journal of Health Economics, 24(3), 571-589.