CONTEXT. Implementation of graduated driver licensing programs is associated with reductions in crash rates of young drivers, but graduated driver licensing programs vary in their components. The impact of programs with different components is unknown.
OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this work was to determine which graduated driver licensing programs are associated with the greatest reductions in fatal motor vehicle crashes involving 16-year-old drivers.
METHODS. We conducted a retrospective study of all 16-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes in the United States from 1994 through 2004 using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the US Census Bureau. We measured incidence rate ratios of fatal motor vehicle crashes involving 16-year-old drivers according to graduated driver licensing programs, adjusted for state and year.
RESULTS. Compared with state quarters with no graduated driver licensing program components, reductions of 16% to 21% in fatal crash involvement rates of 16-year-old drivers occurred with programs that included ≥3-month mandatory waiting period, nighttime driving restriction, and either ≥30 hours of supervised driving or passenger restriction. Reductions of 18% to 21% occurred in state quarters with programs that included ≥5 of the 7 components examined. Drivers aged 20 to 24 or 25 to 29 years did not experience significant reductions.
CONCLUSION. Comprehensive graduated driver licensing programs are associated with reductions of ∼20% in 16-year-old drivers’ fatal crash involvement rates. The greatest benefit seems to be associated with programs that include age requirements and ≥3 months of waiting before the intermediate stage, nighttime driving restriction, and either ≥30 hours of supervised driving or passenger restriction.