«by Johnathon P. Ehsani A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Health Behavior ...»
The goal of this dissertation was to advance the existing body of knowledge of the effect of each GDL component on 16- to 17-year-old drivers’ crashes, and the effect of GDL on 18-year-old drivers’ crashes. A distinctive feature of this research was the use of natural experiments in GDL policy implementation, and an analytical method that controlled for pre-existing trends in crashes. Despite the limitations of a small study sample and subset of crashes, we established that an extended learner license and strict passenger restrictions are associated with declines in 16- and 17-year-old drivers’ fatal crashes. Our findings suggest that the effectiveness of GDL programs in reducing crashes may not be due to the individual contribution of each component, but the synergy that results from multiple GDL components operating within a comprehensive GDL program. Furthermore we observed that 18-year-old drivers possible-injury/PDO crash rates increased in Michigan and declined in Maryland, which is consistent with the presence of an ‘offset effect’ that incorporates the crashes of novice 18-year-old drivers.
Requiring novice drivers of all ages to complete some form of graduated licensing is recommended. Further research is required to identify the elements of a GDL program that would be most effective in reducing crashes in this population of new drivers.
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