An evaluation of the effect of Ohio's graduated driver licensing law on motor vehicle crashes and crash outcomes involving drivers 16 to 20 years of age.Traffic Inj Prev. 2017 05 19; 18(4):344-350.TI
Nationally, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among youth ages 16 to 20 years. Graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws have been implemented to reduce motor vehicle crashes among teen drivers. Studies have shown decreases in teen crash rates and crash-related fatality rates following enactment of GDL laws. However, GDL laws typically apply to teens only until their 18th birthday; therefore, the effect, if any, that GDL laws have on youth drivers ages 18 to 20 years and whether these programs should be extended to include these older youth warrant further study. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of Ohio's 2007 revised GDL law on motor vehicle crashes and crash-related injuries for crashes involving teen drivers ages 16 to 20 years, with a focus on the effects on crashes involving drivers ages 18 to 20 years.
Cross-sectional analysis of motor vehicle crashes involving drivers ages 16 to 20 years in Ohio in the pre-GDL (2004-2006) and post-GDL (2008-2010) periods was performed. Descriptive statistics and population-based crash rates for drivers and occupants ages 16 to 20 years were calculated, as well as rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) comparing crashes in the pre-GDL and post-GDL periods.
Compared with the pre-GDL period, the post-GDL period was associated with lower crash rates for drivers age 16 years (relative risk [RR] = 0.94; 95% CI, 0.90-0.98), age 17 years (RR = 0.90; 95% CI, 0.88-0.93), age 18 years (RR = 0.95; 95% CI, 0.92-0.97), and ages 16-17 years combined (RR = 0.92; 95% CI, 0.90-0.95). Crash rate was higher for the post-GDL period for drivers age 19 years (RR = 1.04; 95% CI, 1.01-1.07), age 20 years (RR = 1.09; 95% CI, 1.05-1.13), and ages 18-20 years combined (RR = 1.02; 95% CI, 1.00-1.03).
Unlike previous studies, this investigation used linked data to evaluate the outcomes of all occupants in crashes involving drivers ages 16-20 years. The post-GDL period was associated with lower crash, injury crash, and fatal crash involvement among drivers and occupants ages 16-17 years but higher overall crash involvement for drivers and occupants ages 19 years, 20 years, and 18-20 years combined. These findings support extending GDL restrictions to novice drivers ages 18 through 20 years to reduce crashes in that group.