GAO releases report on GDL systems

June 3, 2010

A Government Accountability Office report released May 27 identifies key graduated driver licensing system requirements and challenges states to improve teen driver safety.

According to the report (.pdf file), GAO investigators examined state GDL systems, visited six states, and interviewed federal and state traffic safety officials and other experts. Key requirements listed in the report include a three-stage system, in addition to addressing safety belt use, bans on the use of electronic devices, driver education and parental involvement. Challenges reported by states include difficulty in enacting and enforcing teen driver safety programs, limited access to standardized driver education, and difficulties involving parents as their teens learn to drive.

Investigators concluded that although GDL systems have contributed to a decline in teen driver fatality rates, more research needs to be conducted on the effectiveness of specific GDL provisions. Investigators recommended the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration "conduct additional research on teen driver safety requirements -- such as entry age, passenger and nighttime driving restrictions, and driver education -- to help identify the optimum provisions of GDL systems."