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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2003 Apr;(409):85-90.

Teenage driver safety: should graduated drivers licensing be universal?

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, USA.


The number of motor vehicle deaths has decreased significantly in the last quarter century. However, there remain a disproportionate number of automobile crashes involving teenage drivers. Studies have shown these accidents are related to several, possibly behavioral, factors, including driver error, speeding, and increasing numbers of passengers. The injuries and fatalities also involve a disproportionate number of teenage passengers. A three-stage Graduated Drivers Licensure process has been adopted by 34 states to try to address this potentially preventable problem. The Graduated Drivers Licensure involves a very well-supervised permit period, a lengthened provisional period that includes advanced drivers' education and supervised practice, and finally a full license. Studies from Maryland, California, Oregon, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, and Kentucky have shown significant decreases in the crash rates among teenage drivers. The Graduated Drivers Licensure, if adopted as a national standard, may be effective in decreasing the toll of teenage driving accidents.

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