The strength of graduated drivers license programs and fatalities among teen drivers and passengers


Thomas Dee


David C. Grabowski


Michael A. Morrisey


Christine Campbell

Year of Publication: 
Accident Analysis and Prevention

The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of differentially stringent graduated drivers license programs on teen driver fatalities, day-time and night-time teen driver fatalities, fatalities of teen drivers with passengers present, and fatalities among teen passengers.

The study uses 1992–2002 data on motor vehicle fatalities among 15–17-year-old drivers from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System to identify the effects of “good”, “fair”, and “marginal” GDL programs based upon designations by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Analysis is conducted using conditional negative binomial regressions with fixed effects.

“Good” programs reduce total fatalities among young drivers by 19.4% (c.i. −33.0%, −5.9%). “Fair” programs reduce night-time young driver fatalities by 12.6% (c.i. −23.9%, −1.2%), but have no effect on day-time fatalities. “Marginal” programs had no statistically meaningful effect on driver fatalities. All three types of programs reduced teen passenger fatalities, but the effects of limitations on the number of passengers appear to have had only minimal effects in reducing fatalities among young drivers themselves.

Stronger GDL programs are more effective than weaker programs in reducing teenage motor vehicle fatalities.

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APA Citation

Dee, T., Grabowski, D.C., Morrisey, M.A, & Campbell, C. (2006). The strength of graduated drivers license programs and fatalities among teen drivers and passengers. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 38(1), 135-141.