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J Safety Res. 2007;38(6):651-9. Epub 2007 Nov 12.

California's graduated driver license law: Effect on teenage drivers' deaths through 2005.

Author information

  • 1Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, P.O. Box 7842, Santa Cruz, CA 95061-7842, United States. mmales@earthlink.net



While many researchers believe Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws save lives by imposing restrictions and delayed licensure on drivers under age 18, longer term effects on older teenagers have not been studied.


The effects of California's strict GDL law on deaths of drivers ages 16-19 were analyzed for 1995-2005 using Incidence Rate Ratios (IRR) and Auto-Regressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) time series analysis of Fatality Analysis Reporting System mortality data.


The two methods yielded similar results. IRR analysis found California 16-year-old drivers subject to the GDL experienced a 15% fatality decline (95% CI, 0.70-0.99), while 18 year-old drivers experienced a 15% increase (95% CI, 1.02-1.27). ARIMA analysis found 16 year-old drivers experienced a near-significant 20% fatality decline (p=0.07), while 18 year-olds experienced a 24% increase (p=0.01). Unlicensed teenage drivers and older teen drivers driving alone and transporting teenage passengers suffered significant fatality increases.


California's GDL may negatively affect older teenagers and other driver subpopulations and merits reevaluation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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