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Williams A.F.,Allan F. Williams LLC | McCartt A.T.,Insurance Institute for Highway Safety | Mayhew D.R.,Traffic Injury Research Foundation | Watson B.,Center for Accident Research and Road Safety
Traffic Injury Prevention

Objective: To highlight the issues and discuss the research evidence regarding safety, mobility, and other consequences of different licensing ages.Methods: Information included is based on presentations and discussions at a 1-day workshop on licensing age issues and a review and synthesis of the international literature.Results: The literature indicates that higher licensing ages are associated with safety benefits. There is an associated mobility loss, more likely to be an issue in rural states. Legislative attempts to raise the minimum age for independent driving in the United States-for example, from 16 to 17-have been resisted, although in some states the age has been raised indirectly through graduated driver licensing (GDL) policies.Conclusions: Jurisdictions can achieve reductions in teenage crashes by raising the licensing age. This can be done directly or indirectly by strengthening GDL systems, in particular extending the minimum length of the learner period.Supplementary materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of Traffic Injury Prevention for the following supplemental resource: List of workshop participants. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Source

Williams A.F.,Allan F. Williams LLC | Braitman K.A.,Insurance Institute for Highway Safety | McCartt A.T.,Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Traffic Injury Prevention

Objective: During the past two decades, many changes in licensing policies have been made in U.S. states, and more are being discussed. The views of parents of teenagers can inform debates about what licensing provisions should be considered and how well they will be received. The objective was to obtain the views of a nationally representative sample of parents of teenagers on a wide range of licensing practices. Methods: Parents were interviewed via the internet in early 2010. Participants were 1226 parents of 15- to 18-year-olds drawn from a nationally representative panel of U.S. households recruited using probability-based sampling. The panel included cell phone-only households, and Internet access was provided to those without it. Weighting procedures were applied to ensure that participants reflect the national population. Results: Parents generally favored licensing policies that are as strong as or stronger than exist in any U.S. jurisdiction, including higher permit and licensing ages, long learner periods with high practice hour requirements, plus strong and long-lasting night and passenger restrictions. The majority of parents approved of tougher driving tests, including a test to graduate to full license status (75%), enhanced penalties for traffic violations (94%) and violations of graduated licensing restrictions (78%), cell phone and texting bans (96-98%), and, to a somewhat lesser extent, license status identifiers (decals) on vehicles (65%) and the application of graduated licensing rules to novice drivers 18 and older (61%). Parents in the Northeast were significantly more supportive of older learner's permit and restricted driving ages than parents in other regions, and parents in the West were more supportive of strong passenger restrictions. Conclusions: Results suggest that many parents will support comprehensive licensing policies. Many of these policies are known to reduce teenage crash involvement. For others, research evidence of their effects is lacking and needs to be established. © 2011 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Source

Williams A.F.,Allan F. Williams LLC | McCartt A.T.,Insurance Institute for Highway Safety | Sims L.B.,Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Journal of Safety Research

Introduction: The objective of this study is to describe changes in teenage driver licensing policies in the United States during the past two decades with the introduction of graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs, assess GDL laws currently in place, and discuss the possibilities and likely consequences of further changes. Methods: The history of laws introducing and amending GDL programs was tracked, based on records maintained by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Counts of states included the District of Columbia. Results: A few states had elements of GDL prior to the mid-1990s, and between 1996 and 2006 all other states adopted a learner period of 2 months or more, a minimum supervised practice hours requirement for the learner period, or a night or passenger restriction once initially licensed. All but seven states have upgraded their original laws one or more times. Very few states weakened their laws, usually in minor ways. In 158 instances, minimum learner periods, minimum practice hour requirements, or night or passenger restrictions were added or strengthened. Fifteen states raised the minimum age for a license allowing any unsupervised driving. Conclusion: GDL policies have reduced teenage driver crashes. Most states now have at least minimum requirements for basic GDL features, although there is substantial opportunity for strengthening existing policies. Additional upgrades would result in further crash reductions, but very few have been made in recent years. Practical applications: Guidelines for maximizing the crash reduction potential of GDL programs are available, based on the experience of U.S. states, other countries with GDL programs, and the evaluation literature in regard to GDL components. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd and National Safety Council and Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Williams A.F.,Allan F. Williams LLC | Tefft B.C.,AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
Journal of Safety Research

Background More than 40% of fatal crashes of 16- and 17-year-old drivers occur when transporting teenagers. Characteristics of this predominant crash type and prevention possibilities are described, based on data from fatal crashes in the United States during 2005-2010. Results Fifty-seven percent of 16- and 17-year old drivers in fatal crashes had at least one passenger. Most commonly, all passengers were ages 13-19 (42% of all drivers and 73% of those with passengers). Of fatal crashinvolved drivers with teenage passengers and no passengers of other ages, 56% had one passenger, 24% had two, and 20% had three or more. Most frequently, passengers were the same sex and within one year of the driver. Risk factors involving speeding, alcohol use, late-night driving, lack of a valid license, seat belt non-use, and crash responsibility were more prevalent with teenage passengers than when driving alone, and the prevalence of these factors increased with the number of teenage passengers. Many risk factors were most prevalent with passengers ages 20-29, although few crashes had this occupant configuration. Risk factors were least prevalent with a passenger 30 or older. Discussion Fatal crashes of 16- and 17-year-old drivers with teen passengers are a common crash scenario, despite passenger restrictions in 42 states and the District of Columbia during some or all of the study period. The proportion of these fatal crashes decreased slightly from 46% in 1995 (pre-GDL) to 43% in 2010 and showed no signs of decreasing during the six-year study period (range 41% to 43%). Practical applications Existing passenger restrictions are relatively weak and could be strengthened. Fatal crashes involving teen passengers, especially multiple passengers, are more likely to involve alcohol, late-night driving, driver error, and invalid licensure, so stepped-up enforcement of existing laws involving these behaviors might reduce the prevalence of such crashes. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

McCartt A.T.,Insurance Institute for Highway Safety | Oesch N.J.,Insurance Institute for Highway Safety | Williams A.F.,Allan F. Williams LLC | Powell T.C.,Preusser Research Group Inc.
Traffic Injury Prevention

Objectives: On May 1, 2010, New Jersey implemented a law requiring teenagers with learner's permits or probationary licenses to display reflective decals on the front and rear license plates when they drive. The current study examined attitudes of parents and teenagers toward this requirement, use of decals, and reported violations and police enforcement of the graduated driver license law.Method: Statewide telephone surveys of representative samples of parents and teenagers were conducted in February to April 2010 and March to June 2011. Use of decals among probationary license holders was observed at 4 high schools in fall 2010 and in spring 2011 and hand-out surveys were distributed. Data on citations issued for violations of the graduated driver license law were obtained.Results: When interviewed in spring 2011, a large majority of parents of probationary license holders, parents of learner's permit holders, and teenagers with probationary licenses disapproved of decals for probationary licenses. About two thirds of both sets of parents and about half of teenagers disapproved of decals for learner's permits. Support for decals for both license types declined significantly from 2010 to 2011. For parents and teenagers alike, opposition was mainly attributed to concern about identifying and/or targeting teenage drivers by other drivers, predators, or police. In 2011, 77 percent of parents of probationary license holders said that their teenagers had decals for the vehicles driven most often; 46 percent said their teenagers always used decals. Fifty-six percent of parents of learner's permit holders said that their teenagers had decals for the vehicles driven most often; 37 percent said that their teenagers always used decals. Teenagers' reported violations of license restrictions either increased or were similar in 2011 compared to 2010. Observed rates of decal use by probationary license holders at high schools in spring 2011 ranged from 24 to 64 percent. The number of statewide citations for teenage licensing law violations doubled in the year after the decal requirement took effect compared to the prior year. Excluding decal violations, citations increased by 52 percent.Conclusions: Early examination of New Jersey's decal requirement found widespread opposition, primarily due to concerns about identifying/targeting teenage drivers, though first-hand reports of such incidents were very rare. Many teenagers do not use the decals. Increased issuance of citations for violations of the teenage licensing law suggests that decals are facilitating police enforcement. However, based on teenagers' self-reports, the requirement does not appear to have achieved the ultimate goal of increased compliance. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Source

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