Date of this Version
Accident Analysis and Prevention 82 (2015) 45–52
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.