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Views of parents of teenagers about graduated licensing after experience with the laws

Ferguson, Susan A.; Williams, Allan F.; Leaf, William A.; Preusser, David F.; Farmer, Charles M.
Journal of Crash Prevention and Injury Control
October 2001

Parents of 15 year-olds in Florida and Connecticut were first interviewed in 1996 about their views concerning new licensing requirements in their states. Connecticut had introduced a 6-month learner’s permit requirement, effectively increasing the licensing age from 16 years to 16 years, 6 months (16 years, 4 months with driver education). Florida enacted a 6-month learner’s permit period plus a night driving restriction for 16 and 17 year-olds. In 1996, parents were very supportive of the new requirements, particularly the minimum permit period and nighttime restrictions, even though they recognized they would be inconvenienced to some extent. The same parents were interviewed again in 1999, after most of their teenagers had obtained driver’s licenses, and were even more supportive than before of the additional restrictions. Few parents reported that the laws inconvenienced them, and less than 20 percent said the laws had made it harder for their teenagers to get jobs. Furthermore, many were in favor of additional requirements, such as teenage passenger restrictions, not currently part of their states’ laws. These findings should encourage other states to proceed with graduated licensing systems or to augment systems already in place.