Trio of studies find GDL programs reduce teen crash fatalities

November 9, 2011

Bethesda, MD – The National Institutes of Health recently released three studies on Graduated Driver Licensing programs and how they affect the fatal crash rate of teen drivers.

One study revealed that GDL laws have reduced crash fatalities among 16- and 17-year-olds by 8 to 14 percent nationally, according to a study abstract. Researchers identified seven key elements that most effectively reduced crash fatalities, including length of supervised driving time before licensure and limits on teen passengers and nighttime driving.

In another study, published in the August issue of the National Safety Council’s Journal of Safety Research, researchers found that GDL laws were more effective at curbing alcohol-related crash fatalities among the target population compared to speeding-related fatalities.

A third study evaluated whether demographic information such as ethnicity influenced GDL effectiveness, noting its minimal impact among Hispanic teen drivers, according to the study abstract.

Other conclusions from the studies: Laws governing safety belt and alcohol-use penalties contributed to GDL’s impact, and nighttime driving curfews are effective at reducing nighttime crash fatalities.