Educational Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Accident Analysis and Prevention 82 (2015) 45–52


Copyright 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license


Our primary research question was whether teens obtaining their intermediate-level provisional operators permit (POP) in a graduated driver licensing (GDL) environment through driver education differed in crashes and traffic violations from teens who obtained their POP by completing a supervised driving certification log without taking driver education. A descriptive epidemiological study examining a census of all teen drivers in Nebraska (151,880 teens, 48.6% girls, 51.4% boys) during an eight year period from 2003 to 2010 was conducted. The driver education cohort had significantly fewer crashes, injury or fatal crashes, violations, and alcohol-related violations than the certification log cohort in both years one and two of driving following receipt of the POP. Hierarchical logistic regression was conducted, controlling for gender, race/ethnicity, median household income, urban–rural residence, and age receiving the POP. In both year one and two of driving, teens in the certification log cohort had higher odds of a crash, injury or fatal crash, violation, or alcohol-related violation. Findings support that relative to a supervised driving certification log approach, teens taking driver education are less likely to be involved in crashes or to receive a traffic violation during their first two years of driving in an intermediate stage in a graduated driver licensing system. Because teen crash and fatality rates are highest at ages 16–18, these reductions are especially meaningful. Driver education appears to make a difference in teen traffic outcomes at a time when risk is highest.