Differences in young driver crash involvement in states with varying licensure practices

Ferguson, Susan A. / Leaf, William A. / Williams, Allan F. / Preusser, David F.
Accident Analysis & Prevention (AAP)

Teenage driver licensing practices and the crashes of teenagers were compared in several states with differing laws and policies regarding licensure. High school seniors in Delaware, a state with laws that allow early driving and licensure, reported that they first drove on a public road, obtained a learner's permit and obtained a driver's license at younger ages than high school seniors in other northeastern states (Connecticut, New Jersey and upstate New York). State crash data indicated that Delaware and Connecticut, which allow unrestricted licensing at age 16, showed the highest rates of 16-year-old driver involvements in nonfatal and fatal injury crashes. Pennsylvania and upstate New York, which have night driving curfews for 16 year-olds, showed lower crash rates overall and much lower crash rates during their respective curfew hours. New Jersey and Nassau and Suffolk counties, where unsupervised driving by 16 year-olds is generally not allowed, showed the lowest crash rates for 16 year-olds. Graduated licensing programs that include delayed full-privilege licensure, night driving curfews, and extended periods of supervised practice driving are a possible countermeasure for the high motor vehicle crash rates of young drivers.

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