253612 Graduated driver license nighttime compliance in U.S. teen drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 1:10 PM

Dustin Carpenter, MPH , Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York City, NY
Joyce Pressley, PhD, MPH , Departments of Epidemiology and Health Policy and Management, Columbia University, New York, NY
Background: Examination of teen driver compliance with graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws could be instrumental in identifying factors associated with persistently high motor vehicle mortality rates.

Methods: Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data from the years 2006-2009 were used in this nation-wide cross-sectional study of drivers covered by a state nighttime GDL law (n=3,492). A new definition of weekend, based on the school night in relation to the teenage social landscape, redefining Friday as a weekend night and Sunday as a weekday/school night was compared to previous weekend definitions. A multiple logistic regression model was used to examine the independent effects of demographic, behavioral, environmental, contextual, and other factors on nighttime GDL compliance.

Results: Given coverage with nighttime GDL laws, drivers aged 15-17 years were non-compliant in 14.9% of the fatal MVCs in which they were involved, and nearly one-fifth (18.4%) of all fatalities in those aged 15-17 years were associated with non-compliance. Mortality risk was 10% higher using a revised social (school night) versus traditional (Sat-Sun) weekend definitions. In multivariable analysis, drivers non-compliant with nighttime GDL laws were more likely to be drinking (OR=4.97, 3.85-6.40), unbelted (OR=1.58, 1.25-1.99), driving on the weekend (OR=1.82, 1.47-2.24), and killed (OR=1.31, 1.04-1.65) compared to compliant drivers.

Conclusion: GDL non-compliance is a major contributor to teen motor vehicle mortality. Enforcement efforts should target non-school night weekend driving (i.e., Friday and Saturday night, Sunday during the summer and holiday weekends), along with the strengthening and enforcement of alcohol and seat belt legislation targeting teen drivers.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the contribution of state nighttime GDL law non-compliance to teen motor vehicle mortality. Assess the effect of weekend definitions and describe their role in evaluating teen crash risk. Evaluate the independent effects of demographic, behavioral, contextual, and state-level factors on nighttime GDL non-compliance.

Keywords: Injury Control, Motor Vehicles

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I graduated with a master's degree in epidemiology from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and my thesis was on the topic to be presented.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.