Graduated licenses & connected car tracking of pratice safest for teens and says NSC

Distracted TeensIn a report released today, the National Safety Council (NSC) and the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) outlined a blueprint for all states to reduce teen driver car crashes, the leading cause of death for that age group. The Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) implementation strategy detailed in the report, A New GDL Framework: Planning for the Future, shakes up the traditional learning-to-drive process. It suggests connected car devices to monitor practice and parental supervision

Specifically, NSC and TIRF are calling for a three-step, multi-year licensing system that applies to all new drivers younger than 21 rather than only drivers age 18 or younger. Recommended requirements include mandatory in-vehicle technology to track practice hours, a full-year ban on carrying passengers and driving at night, decals to aid identification and on-going driver’s education classes. Parents would also be required to spend at least 50 hours supervising their teens.

This report is the second of a three-phase plan, and its recommendations were developed from evidence-based initiatives. The report also identifies areas where more research is needed.

“The good news is that over the last two decades, all states have implemented parts of GDL and it has resulted in a reduction in teen driver deaths,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “The bad news is that motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of teen deaths. Rather than the existing patchwork system across the nation, we must identify and adopt ALL of the most effective interventions if we are committed to reducing the death toll on our roadways.”

“GDL involves a tiered system of licensing in which novice drivers are gradually exposed to driving situations over an extended period of time spent in low-risk environments,” said Dan Mayhew, lead author and TIRF Senior Research Scientist and Policy Advisor. “At its core, this new GDL framework is unique in that it proposes that the best of our knowledge gained through driver education, licensing and testing requirements, as well as in-vehicle monitoring technology be integrated into an enhanced GDL program and used in eight key stage components and reinforcing components across the learner and intermediate stages.”

The full report and executive summary are available here. Financial support for this project was provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Toyota Foundation and Nationwide Insurance.

Phase 3 of this project, slated to begin this fall, includes the development of an online resource that provides practical tools and technical assistance to help states improve teen driver safety.