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Teenage crash reduction associated with delayed licensure in Connecticut

Ulmer, Robert G.; Ferguson, Susan A.; Williams, Allan F.; Preusser, David F.
Journal of Safety Research
Spring 2001

Problem: On January 1, 1997, Connecticut implemented the first phase of graduated licensing requiring 16- and 17-year-olds to hold a learner's permit for 6 months (4 months with driver's education) prior to licensure. The effect of this change was to raise the minimum licensing age in Connecticut by 6 months (or 4 months) during which time a young person could obtain supervised practice driving.
Method: Crash rates for 16- to 18-year-olds in Connecticut, before and after the change, were compared with crash rates in nearby counties in New York State.
Results: Fatal/injury crash involvements of Connecticut 16-year-old drivers declined by 22% during the first full year following the law change. Declines did not vary significantly between males and females or as a function of the income level of the city/town in which the crash occurred. Fatal/injury crash involvements for 17- and 18-year-olds in Connecticut and 16-, 17-, and 18-year-olds in New York did not change significantly.
Discussion: Companion surveys of parents conducted before and after their teen was licensed showed support for the law change and support for additional provisions generally associated with “graduated licensing.”
Summary: Delaying teenage licensure in Connecticut, during which time a teen could engage in more practice driving, was associated with a 22% reduction in fatal/injury crash involvements for 16-year-old drivers.
Impact on industry:Crash reduction will be related to a reduction in overall highway loss including medical costs, property damage, and lost work time.