PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new study from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) provides valuable evidence that a vast majority of New Jersey's intermediate (i.e., probationary) licensed teen drivers follow the state's Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) limits on passenger and nighttime driving. The study, which was published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, shows more than 91 percent of trips taken by young drivers follow the state's GDL passenger restriction (1 passenger) and nearly 97 percent comply with its GDL nighttime restriction (no driving between 11:01 p.m. and 5 a.m.).
GDL programs are proven to reduce young novice drivers' crash risk. However, before this study was conducted, the level of young intermediate drivers' compliance with GDL restrictions was largely unknown. CHOP researchers linked New Jersey's licensing and crash record databases (July 2010 through June 2012), looking at data from about 32,000 young drivers involved in more than 30,000 crashes, then focused on intermediate drivers who were not responsible for the accidents to determine the rates of compliance with GDL provisions. They estimated that only 8 percent of trips taken by young intermediate drivers in New Jersey did not follow the passenger restriction and only 3 percent did not comply with the nighttime restriction. This approach provides a more objective population-wide analysis than was previously possible and paves the way for measuring and improving GDL compliance in the future.
"There is a misperception that teen drivers with intermediate licenses do not follow GDL restrictions. The findings of this study, along with several naturalistic driving studies, help to dispel this myth," says Allison E. Curry, PhD, MPH, a senior scientist at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) at CHOP and principal investigator of the study. "However, this does not mean that we do not have more work to do. Although most new drivers follow the restrictions, there are still about 30,000 to 40,000 trips taken daily in New Jersey in which a teen driver does not comply with the state's passenger restriction. We need to educate all families on the purpose and benefits of following GDL to prevent teen driver crashes."
Although the number of compliant drivers was high across most groups, some groups were less likely to follow GDL laws. The researchers found compliance was lower among youths from low-income areas and also among males. For example, male drivers were more likely to be found driving during restricted nighttime hours compared to female drivers. The study also found that compliance was lower during weekends and summer months, when teens are more likely to travel for social reasons.
Despite breaking the law, only a small number of intermediate drivers who did not follow GDL restrictions and who were involved in a crash received traffic citations. Law enforcement officials cited only 10.3 percent of drivers not responsible for a crash and 19 percent of drivers responsible for a crash. Enforcement rates were also highest among the youngest drivers: 18 percent of 17-year-old drivers known to be non-compliant with the GDL passenger restriction were issued a citation compared with 3 percent of 19-year-olds.
"Our best advice to parents and caregivers who have newly licensed teen drivers is to help them avoid driving multiple passengers and driving late at night," says Dr. Curry. "They might need to be especially mindful of this on weekends and summers when teens have a greater need to travel to be social."
Funding for this study was provided by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The views and recommendations in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the NIH.
Access an infographic about the research and tips for families to encourage GDL compliance at teendriversource.org.
Allison E. Curry, PhD, Melissa R. Pfeiffer, MPH, Michael R. Elliot, PhD. "Compliance With and Enforcement of Graduated Driver Licensing Restrictions," American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published online October 13, 2016. http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(16)30380-4/fulltext?rss=yes
About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals, and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 535-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.
Contact: Camillia Travia
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia