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Does Duration of Learners Permit Phase of Novice Driver Licensing Promote a Positive Outcome among Young Licensees?



Youthful novice drivers are widely recognized to present the greatest risk of crash involvement of all licensed operators.  Crash rates among this group are highest during the first six months of licensure and decline steeply until they level out in the fourth decade of life.  Many states have mandated graduated licensing plans in the hope of  reducing crash involvement among youthful novices with measured success, but elevated risk persists and is resistant to further reduction.  Policy makers need new means to further reduce the risk of injury and death resulting from novice, youthful drivers.  Measuring discrete elements of the introductory licensing process offers the promise of finding new ways to influence this pattern.  Duration of the Learner’s Permit phase is one element.  This research needs statement proposes to study the influence of that element.


Problem Statement:


Does extending the Learner’s Permit phase of novice licensure result in reduced crash rates among youthful (16 year old) license applicants?




To identify the value of extended learner’s permit phase of novice licensure and recommend policy that will result in reduced crash rates among youthful novice drivers.


Proposed Research:


The proposed research would use several approaches to examine whether extended learner stages are associated with reduced crash rates among novice drivers. First, crash involvements among teenage drivers would be compared across states with dissimilar Learner Permit minimum duration requirements. Second, employing the same data within each state, resultant crash-involvement would be examined among cohorts with differing period-held durations for same program performance. The correlation between Learner Permit duration and crash involvement would be examined to see if differences exist between manadatory and voluntary extensions of permit duration. Finally, a detailed analysis would be conducted of several states that have changed the length of their learner stage, independent of other changes to their licensing system. This would provide a “natural experiment” in which the pre- and post-crash rates within the states could be compared. The analysis would help show the unique contribution of the extended learner stage to reducing young driver crashes.


Estimated Cost and Duration:          


$200,000, and two years.


Key Words:


Novice Driver, young driver, teenager, learner permit, crash involvement, graduated licensing, driver licensing, policy.

Sponsoring Committee:ACH60, Vehicle User Education, Training, and Licensing
Source Info:Jack Joyce, ANB30, Committee on Operator Education and Regulation
Date Posted:01/19/2010
Date Modified:07/18/2011
Index Terms:Adolescents, Teenage drivers, Driver licenses, Driver licensing restrictions, Driver training, Education and training,
Cosponsoring Committees: 
Safety and Human Factors
Education and Training

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