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J Safety Res. 2007;38(2):193-202. Epub 2007 Mar 26.

Parent involvement in novice teen driving: rationale, evidence of effects, and potential for enhancing graduated driver licensing effectiveness.

Author information

  • Prevention Research Branch, Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 6100 Executive Blvd, 7B05, Bethesda, MD, 20892-7510, USA. mortonb@mail.nih.gov


Motor-vehicle crash rates are highly elevated immediately after licensure and then decline gradually over a period of years. Young age, risk taking, and inexperience contribute to the problem, but inexperience is particularly important early on. Driving is like other complex, skilled behaviors in which subtle improvements in perception and judgment develop gradually over a period of years. After all, safe driving is more a matter of attention and perception than physical management of the vehicle. Inexperience is particularly linked to driving performance and safety outcomes under certain driving conditions, with driving at night and with teen passengers as the most important cases. Surprisingly, driving outcomes do not appear to be affected by the pre-license training or supervised practice driving. Given the limits of training, safety effects can best be achieved by countermeasures that delay licensure or limit novice teen driving under high risk driving conditions while novices gain experience and develop safety competence. The two complementary approaches of Graduated Driver Licensing policies and parent management have been shown to provide safety effects by limiting the driving conditions of novice teenagers.

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