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Study Points to Beneficial Effects of GDL Laws on Novice Driving Skills

Monday, January 06, 2014

Earlier research has confirmed the benefits of graduated driver’s licensing programs in helping keep novice drivers safe. New research by the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the University Of North Carolina also confirms this fact.

The research used fatal accident data from between 1986 and 2007, and analyzed the data to see the impact of various components of Graduated Driver’s Licensing programs across the nation.

The researchers found that the rate of fatal accidents for 16 to 17-year-olds, were approximately 21% lower when the permit holding period dropped from 9 to 12 months. When these novice drivers had a passenger restriction of no more than one passenger in the car during this period, there was an approximately 50% reduction in fatal accident rates.

An intermediate license age of 16 ½ to 17 years led to a reduction in the fatal accident rate for 16-year-olds, but there was no discernible effect on the accident rate for 17-year-olds. Also, when nighttime driving restrictions for novice drivers prevented these motorists from driving after 10 PM, there was a significant reduction in the fatal crash rate.

The study also found that when minimum learner permit holding periods were extended to at least five months, there was a significant reduction in the fatal crash rate. However, when the minimum learner permit holding period was extended to between nine and 12 months, the reduction was much greater.

What Thousand Oaks car accident lawyers found really surprising was that when the passenger restriction included a limit of just one passenger in the car, there was a much greater reduction in the fatal crash rate, compared to rules that banned passengers altogether from the car. This could be because teenage drivers are much more likely to comply with a one-passenger restriction, than with a no-passenger restriction.


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