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National Research Council (US), Institute of Medicine (US), and Transportation Research Board (US) Program Committee for a Workshop on Contributions from the Behavioral and Social Sciences in Reducing and Preventing Teen Motor Crashes. Preventing Teen Motor Crashes: Contributions from the Behavioral and Social Sciences: Workshop Report. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2007.

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Preventing Teen Motor Crashes: Contributions from the Behavioral and Social Sciences: Workshop Report.

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The Board on Children, Youth, and Families (BCYF) of the National Research Council (NRC) and the Institute of Medicine has organized a series of planning meetings, workshops, and consensus studies over the past decade that address different facets of adolescent health and development (see the BCYF web site: In the midst of this work, the board identified a significant omission: the work of researchers with new insights and understanding of teen risk behaviors and adolescent development in general had not yet been systematically applied to key policy, education, or practice questions related to the problem of teen crashes.

Following a series of tragic deaths involving teen drivers and passengers in metropolitan Washington, DC, in October 2004, the Committee on Adolescent Health and Development reviewed the emerging research on teen driving. It concluded that the time was ripe to examine this work within a broad interdisciplinary forum involving experts from fields of study that had remained apart for too long. BCYF pursued this initiative in collaboration with the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, which has a long and robust history of addressing highway safety through convening interdisciplinary conferences and workshops, identifying and sponsoring research, and influencing policy through studies in highway safety conducted at the request of Congress and the executive branch.

From this internal consultation emerged a proposal for a national workshop that would bring together traffic safety experts with others from a broad array of disciplines, including researchers who study adolescent health, injury prevention, public health, youth development, risk assessment, behavioral psychology, and other fields of social and behavioral study that examine interactions that influence today’s youth. The workshop was viewed as just a beginning—an opportunity for a diverse group to examine how research findings from a broad array of disciplines could be presented within an interdisciplinary framework and integrated in ways that could address a critical public health need, improve the quality of prevention strategies, and ultimately reduce teen motor vehicle crashes and save lives. This report, which summarizes what took place at the workshop, can serve only to introduce readers to the potential connections among work on adolescent development from the behavioral and social sciences and research findings from the fields of traffic safety and public health. It is not intended as a comprehensive summary of the existing body of literature on either teen driving or adolescent development, nor does it make any specific recommendations. Instead, like the workshop itself, it is intended as a spur to further action.

We greatly appreciate the public- and private-sector partnership that emerged to support this undertaking. The Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research in the National Institutes of Health, the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the State Farm Insurance Companies® sponsored the workshop project and provided technical assistance in key areas of interest. Particular acknowledgment is given to Bruce Simons-Morton from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, Ruth Shults from CDC, and John Nepomuceno from State Farm Insurance Companies®, each of whom offered guidance and encouragement during the formative stages of this activity.

The two-day workshop summarized in this report was held at the National Academies in May 2006. The workshop made possible expert presentation of new research findings from the social, behavioral, and health sciences, as well as opportunities to engage in broad interdisciplinary dialogue about the implications of this research. Apart from the expertise of the speakers and members of the program committee, the participants included others with a wide array of expertise in traffic safety and adolescent health interests, as well as stakeholders concerned with improving the quality of life for today’s youth—including parents whose lives have been touched by the tragedy of motor vehicle crash fatalities.

It was difficult indeed to condense the rich array of research literature into a two-day program. We are particularly grateful for the contributions of the expert presenters who helped to structure the workshop program, as well as the other discussants and participants who contributed to the discussions (see Appendix A for the workshop agenda and list of presenters). Many of the speakers and participants were eager to see additional activity emerge from this initial discussion; all welcomed the opportunity to meet with new colleagues and to reframe their work in a setting that encouraged moving beyond the traditional confines of disciplinary inquiry.

Members of the program committee met once to plan and convene the workshop, and they met again immediately after the gathering to identify major themes to be presented in this summary report. In preparing the report, the workshop rapporteur, Alexandra Beatty, assisted in synthesizing the key points. Special appreciation also goes to members of the project staff, including Jennifer Appleton Gootman, study director; Rick Pain, transportation safety coordinator; and Wendy Keenan, program associate, who ably assisted with the organization of the meeting.

This report summarizes the committee’s assessment of what transpired at the workshop and highlights some of the views expressed by workshop speakers or participants. While the committee is responsible for the overall quality and accuracy of the report as a record of what transpired at the workshop, the views of workshop participants whose comments are summarized are not necessarily those of the planning committee members.

This workshop report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Susan S. Gallagher, Children’s Safety Network, Education Development Center, Newton, MA; Jay N. Giedd, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Potomac, MD; Ricardo Martinez, Medical Affairs, The Schumacher Group, Kennesaw, GA; John W. Palmer, Health and Safety, St. Cloud State University; Dan Romer, Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania; Teresa M. Senserrick, Center for Injury Research and Prevention, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; and Jerry Wachtel, Office of the President, The Veridian Group, Inc., Berkeley, CA.

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Laurence Steinberg, Department of Psychology, Temple University. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Rosemary Chalk, Director

Board on Children, Youth, and Families

Copyright © 2007, National Academy of Sciences.
Bookshelf ID: NBK9665


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