Online Program

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

Monday, November 4, 2013

Mindy Steadman, MPH (c), CHES, Master of Public Health Program, Department of Health Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Jesse Bush, MPH (c), Master of Public Health Program, Department of Health Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
OBJECTIVE. 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. METHODS. The study design involved a policy analysis using methodology set forth by Teitelbaum (2007). Eight states were selected, two each from four different regions in the U.S. 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. RESULTS. 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 New England states (Maryland and Vermont) scored the best overall (125.8); the Southern states (Mississippi and Georgia) scored the poorest overall (-59.1). CONCLUSIONS. 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.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Discuss policy analysis methodology as applied to state graduated driver licensing (GDL) policies. Compare and contrast specific GDL components with state-level teen crash and mortality outcomes. Identify state-specific policies most linked with best outcomes, according to policy analysis.

Keyword(s): Public Health Policy, Motor Vehicles

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have spent four months as the primary researcher on this graduate project investigating teen motor vehicle safety and conducting an extensive policy analysis of state graduated driver licensing policies.
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.