Teen GDL decal law helps reduce crashes: study

November 7, 2012

Philadelphia – A New Jersey law requiring teen drivers to display a decal indicating their Graduated Driver Licensing status may have contributed to a 9 percent decrease in the crash rate among teens in the probationary period, according to a new study (.pdf file) from the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

GDL laws restrict the types of driving teens can engage in, such as nighttime driving and having teen passengers, and typically include three stages with varying restriction levels. The probationary stage is the middle stage, issued after a teen completes a certain amount of learner driving hours.

Researchers compared the rate of citations issued for GDL restrictions and crash reports among teen drivers in New Jersey in the probationary period before and after a GDL decal law went into effect in May 2010. They also found an 8 percent decrease in multiple-vehicle crashes and a 9 percent decrease in crashes involving a probationary driver with peer passengers.

Alaska, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota and North Carolina have considered decal legislation, but no bills have been passed, according to a press release from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.