Publication Details

Unlicensed driving among young drivers in North Carolina: A quasi-induced exposure analysis.

Type: article

Author(s): Wang, Yudan Chen; Foss, Robert D.; Goodwin, Arthur H.

Pages: 26


Publication Date: Aug-2022

Journal: Injury Epidemiology

Volume: 9

Issue: 1

Doi: 10.1186/s40621-022-00391-9

Pmid: 35974383

Pmcid: PMC9382739

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Little is known about the prevalence of driving among teenagers who have not yet obtained a license. The primary objective of the present study was to estimate the prevalence of unlicensed driving among young drivers using the quasi-induced exposure (QIE) approach and to determine whether unlicensed driving was more common among minority and lower-income teenagers. Additionally, we examined whether unlicensed driving among adolescents increased following the implementation of a graduated driver licensing (GDL) system and whether GDL differentially affected minority and low-income adolescents. METHODS: Using North Carolina crash and driver license data, we identified 90,267 two-vehicle crashes from 1991 through 2016 where only one driver was considered contributory and the non-contributory driver was a White or Black 16 or 17 years old. In the QIE approach, these non-contributory young drivers are assumed to be representative of all adolescents driving in the state during this time period. The prevalence of unlicensed driving among adolescents by age and year was estimated by identifying the proportion of non-contributory drivers who had never been licensed by the time of their involvement in these two-vehicle crashes. We further conducted logistic regression analyses to examine the likelihood of a non-contributory young driver being unlicensed as a function of race, neighborhood income level, and licensing era (prior to or after GDL was implemented). RESULTS: During the 26 years for which data were available, the mean annual prevalence of unlicensed driving was 1.2% for 16-year-olds and 1.7% among 17-year-olds. Young Black drivers and individuals living in lower-income neighborhoods were somewhat more likely to drive before obtaining a license, but the rates of unlicensed driving among these groups were also quite low. Unlicensed driving increased slightly for 17-year-olds following the implementation of GDL, but returned to previous levels after a few years. CONCLUSION: Unlicensed driving among adolescents in North Carolina is substantially less common than suggested by previous self-report studies and analyses of fatal crash data. © 2022. The Author(s).