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Traffic Inj Prev. 2014;15(4):343-8. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2013.822493.

Graduated driver licensing provisions: an analysis of state policies and what works.

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a Master of Public Health Program , Brigham Young University , Provo , Utah.



To compare and contrast how specific graduated driver licensing (GDL) components have been implemented in different states and explore how the policies currently in place have affected state-level teen crash and mortality outcomes.


The study design involved a policy analysis using methodology set forth by Teitelbaum and Wilensky (2007). Eight states were selected, 2 each from 4 different regions in the United States. Each pair of states was similar in terms of geography and vehicle miles driven per capita but differed in the relative strength of their GDL legislation. Teen fatality and crash rates in 2010 as well as specific GDL components were the variables used for analysis. A weighted decision matrix was created to reflect the comparative impact of each variable.


In every region, the state with the stronger GDL policy scored higher on the decision matrix than the state with the weaker GDL policy. The Eastern states (Maryland and Vermont) scored the best overall (123.9); the Southern states (Mississippi and Georgia) scored the poorest overall (-55.7).


Consistent with other GDL research, states with stronger GDL policies had more favorable teen crash and mortality outcomes than states with weaker ones. Analysis showed that the policies in strong states shared several common themes: more required practice hours, ban on all teen passengers, and night driving restrictions for 12+ months. Implications for state policy makers are provided.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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