In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at the Center for the Study of Young Drivers (CSYD) found that mandating a specific number of supervised driving hours during the learner stage of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) did not have a significant effect on teen crashes. The study, released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in March 2012, entitled “The Role of Supervised Driving Requirements in a Graduated Driver Licensing Program,” also found that awareness of supervised driving requirements among parents is relatively low. This may help explain why there was no effect of such requirements on young driver crashes.
Most states require learner drivers to complete a certain amount of supervised driving practice – usually 40 to 50 hours – before they obtain an Intermediate license. Interviews with parents of young drivers and driver licensing bureau employees suggest that the supervised driving practice requirement may not be clearly communicated by licensing officials, as many parents were unaware of the requirement. Even among parents who did know of the requirement, many found it difficult to recall how many hours of supervised driving their teen was required to complete.
“Parents play an indispensable role in helping their children get the large amount of practical driving experience needed to develop the cognitive skills essential to safe driving,” said Rob Foss, director of the CSYD. “The findings of this study suggest that states’ efforts to convey this point to parents, by requiring a fixed amount of driving, have not produced their intended result.”
A full copy of the report “The Role of Supervised Driving Requirements In a Graduated Driver Licensing Program” is available on the NHTSA website.
The CSYD was established within the UNC Highway Safety Research Center in 2005 to study and improve the safety of young drivers. The Center’s focus is on developing a fundamental understanding of the multitude of factors that contribute to the high crash rate among young drivers. This understanding is essential to the development of effective policies and programs to reduce travel-related deaths and injuries among teens.
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