In September 2008, the UNC Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) was awarded a contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide assistance to states that are interested in upgrading their Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) systems. This new project involves working closely with state coalitions to bolster the quality of their young driver licensing systems in ways that are known to improve teen driver safety.
The process takes stakeholder groups through steps outlined in a GDL Planning Guide, developed by CDC with input from young driver researchers from HSRC and elsewhere. Assistance is being offered to a small number of states whose GDL systems have known shortcomings and where there is an existing group or coalition that has an interest in this issue.
As states work through the guide, HSRC researchers offer on-call assistance in tackling the individual issues of each partner state. These issues can include local data collection and analysis, designing surveys of parents, networking with additional state and national experts, and explaining GDL to legislators.
"GDL is different from most other traffic safety initiatives and, as such, is often misunderstood by the public, the media and policy-makers," said Rob Foss, senior research scientist and director of the HSRC Center for the Study of Young Drivers. "We can help with this by answering questions from representatives of the news media and by providing guidance on dealing with these kinds of issues locally."
As the HSRC team works with each state group, the researchers gather feedback that is used to assess the guide and the support process. The intent is to use this information to revise and update the GDL Planning Guide.
The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center
730 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Suite 300 | Campus Box 3430 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430
Phone: 919.962.2203 | Fax: 919.962.8710