Compliance With and Enforcement of Graduated Driver Licensing Restrictions

  • Allison E. Curry
    Address correspondence to: Allison E. Curry, PhD, MPH, Center for Injury Research and Prevention, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 3535 Market Street, Suite 1150, Philadelphia PA 19104
    Center for Injury Research and Prevention, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Search for articles by this author
  • Melissa R. Pfeiffer
    Center for Injury Research and Prevention, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Search for articles by this author
  • Michael R. Elliott
    Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Survey Methodology Program, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Search for articles by this author
Published:October 13, 2016DOI:


      Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) is the most effective strategy to reduce the burden of young driver crashes, but the extent to which young intermediate (newly licensed) drivers comply with, and police enforce, important GDL passenger and night-time restrictions is largely unknown. Population-level rates of intermediate drivers’ compliance were estimated as well as police enforcement among crash-involved drivers who were noncompliant.


      New Jersey’s statewide driver licensing and crash databases were individually linked. The quasi-induced exposure method’s fundamental assumption—that nonresponsible young intermediate drivers in clean (i.e., only one responsible driver) multivehicle crashes are reasonably representative of young intermediate drivers on the road—was borrowed. Incidence was then estimated among the 9,250 nonresponsible intermediate drivers who were involved in clean multivehicle crashes from July 2010 through June 2012. The proportion of crash-involved noncompliant intermediate drivers who were issued a GDL citation, by crash responsibility, was calculated. Data were collected in 2013 and analyzed in 2015.


      Overall, 8.3% (95% CI=7.8%, 8.9%) of intermediate drivers’ trips were noncompliant with New Jersey’s passenger restriction and 3.1% (95% CI=2.8%, 3.5%) with its night-time restriction; compliance was significantly lower among those residing in low-income and urban areas, among male drivers, on weekends, and in summer months. The proportion of crash-involved noncompliant intermediate drivers who were issued a GDL citation was low (nonresponsible drivers, 10.3%; responsible drivers, 19.0%).


      The vast majority of intermediate driver trips are in compliance with GDL restrictions. Outreach activities should consider focusing on higher-risk situations and groups with higher noncompliance rates.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to American Journal of Preventive Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


      1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Published 2014. Accessed June 23, 2015.

        • Tefft B.C.
        • Williams A.F.
        • Grabowski J.G.
        Teen driver risk in relation to age and number of passengers, United States, 2007–2010.
        Traffic Inj Prev. 2012; 14: 283-292
        • Williams A.F.
        Teenage drivers: patterns of risk.
        J Safety Res. 2003; 34: 5-15
        • Fell J.C.
        • Todd M.
        • Voas R.B.
        A national evaluation of the nighttime and passenger restriction components of graduated driver licensing.
        J Safety Res. 2011; 42: 283-290
        • McCartt A.T.
        • Teoh E.R.
        • Fields M.
        • Braitman K.A.
        • Hellinga L.A.
        Graduated licensing laws and fatal crashes of teenage drivers: a national study.
        Traffic Inj Prev. 2010; 11: 240-248
        • Masten S.V.
        • Chapman E.A.
        • Atkinson D.B.
        • Browning K.K.
        Non-compliance with graduated driver licensing (GDL) requirements: changes in GDL-related conviction rates over time among 16-17-year-old California drivers.
        Accid Anal Prev. 2014; 72: 230-243
        • Goodwin A.H.
        • Wells J.K.
        • Foss R.D.
        • Williams A.F.
        Encouraging compliance with graduated driver licensing restrictions.
        J Safety Res. 2006; 37: 343-351
        • Foss R.D.
        • Goodwin A.H.
        • McCartt A.T.
        • Hellinga L.A.
        Short-term effects of a teenage driver cell phone restriction.
        Accid Anal Prev. 2009; 41: 419-424
        • Carpenter D.
        • Pressley J.C.
        Graduated driver license nighttime compliance in U.S. teen drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes.
        Accid Anal Prev. 2013; 56: 110-117
        • Masten S.V.
        Do states upgrading to primary enforcement of safety belt laws experience increased daytime and nighttime belt use?.
        Accid Anal Prev. 2007; 39: 1131-1139
        • Jiang X.G.
        • Lyles R.W.
        Exposure-based assessment of the effectiveness of Michigan’s graduated driver licensing nighttime driving restriction.
        Saf Sci. 2011; 49: 484-490
        • Goodwin A.H.
        • Foss R.D.
        • O’Brien N.P.
        The Transition to Unsupervised Driving.
        AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Washington, DC2011
        • Klauer S.G.
        • Simons-Morton B.
        • Lee S.E.
        • Ouimet M.C.
        • Howard E.H.
        • Dingus T.A.
        Novice drivers’ exposure to known risk factors during the first 18 months of licensure: the effect of vehicle ownership.
        Traffic Inj Prev. 2011; 12: 159-168
        • Steenbergen L.C.
        • Kidd P.S.
        • Pollack S.
        • McCoy C.
        • Pigman J.G.
        • Agent K.R.
        Kentucky’s graduated driver licensing program for young drivers: barriers to effective local implementation.
        Inj Prev. 2001; 7: 286-291
        • Goodwin A.H.
        • Foss R.D.
        Graduated driver licensing restrictions: awareness, compliance, and enforcement in North Carolina.
        J Safety Res. 2004; 35: 367-374
        • Curry A.E.
        • Pfeiffer M.R.
        • Durbin D.R.
        • Elliott M.R.
        Young driver crash rates by licensing age, driving experience, and license phase.
        Accid Anal Prev. 2015; 80: 243-250
        • Lyles R.W.
        • Stamatiadis P.
        • Lighthizer D.R.
        Quasi-induced exposure revisited.
        Accid Anal Prev. 1991; 23: 275-285
        • Stamatiadis N.
        • Deacon J.A.
        Quasi-induced exposure: methodology and insight.
        Accid Anal Prev. 1997; 29: 37-52
        • Curry A.E.
        • Pfeiffer M.R.
        • Myers R.K.
        • Durbin D.R.
        • Elliott M.R.
        Statistical implications of using moving violations to determine crash responsibility in young driver crashes.
        Accid Anal Prev. 2014; 65C: 28-35
        • Curry A.E.
        • Pfeiffer M.R.
        • Elliott M.R.
        Validation of quasi-induced exposure representativeness assumption among young drivers.
        Traffic Inj Prev. 2016; 17: 346-351
        • Af Wåhlberg A.E.
        • Dorn L.
        Culpable versus non-culpable traffic accidents: what is wrong with this picture?.
        J Safety Res. 2007; 38: 453-459
        • Jiang X.
        • Qiu Y.
        • Lyles R.W.
        • Zhang H.
        Issues with using police citations to assign responsibility in quasi-induced exposure.
        Saf Sci. 2012; 50: 1133-1140
      2. New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. Police Guide for Preparing Reports of Motor Vehicle Crashes. Published 2011. Accessed December 2015.

        • Chandraratna S.
        • Stamatiadis N.
        Quasi-induced exposure method: evaluation of not-at-fault assumption.
        Accid Anal Prev. 2009; 41: 308-313
        • Jiang X.
        • Lyles R.W.
        A review of the validity of the underlying assumptions of quasi-induced exposure.
        Accid Anal Prev. 2010; 42: 1352-1358
      3. Curry A. Estimating young novice drivers’ compliance with graduated driver licensing restrictions: a novel approach. Traffic Inj Prev. In press. Online April 11, 2016.

        • Williams A.F.
        • McCartt A.T.
        Views of New Jersey teenagers about their state’s policies for beginning drivers.
        J Safety Res. 2014; 48: 1-6
      4. U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. National Houshold Travel Survey. Published 2009. Accessed May 1, 2014.

      5. Sandt L, Foss R. Teenage driving patterns in North Carolina: pre- and post-GDL. Paper presented at: 2010 Transportation Young Driver Subcommittee Meeting. Woods Hole, MA; July 15, 2010.

        • Curry A.E.
        • Pfeiffer M.R.
        • Localio R.
        • Durbin D.R.
        Graduated driver licensing decal law: Effect on young probationary drivers.
        Am J Prev Med. 2013; 44: 1-7
        • Simons-Morton B.G.
        • Ouimet M.C.
        • Catalano R.F.
        Parenting and the young driver problem.
        Am J Prev Med. 2008; 35: 294-303
        • Curry A.E.
        • Peek-Asa C.
        • Hamann C.J.
        • Mirman J.H.
        Effectiveness of parent-focused interventions to increase teen driver safety: a critical review.
        J Adolesc Health. 2015; 57: S6-S14
        • Juarez P.
        • Schlundt D.G.
        • Goldzweig I.
        • Stinson N.
        A conceptual framework for reducing risky teen driving behaviors among minority youth.
        Inj Prev. 2006; 12: i49-i55
        • Males M.
        The role of poverty in California teenagers’ fatal traffic crash risk.
        Californian J Health Promot. 2009; 7: 1-13
        • Chaudhary N.K.
        • Williams A.F.
        • Nissen W.
        Evaluation and Compliance of Passenger Restrictions in a Graduated Driver Licensing Program.
        National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Washington, DC2007
        • Curry A.E.
        • Elliott M.R.
        • Pfeiffer M.R.
        • Kim K.H.
        • Durbin D.R.
        Long-term changes in crash rates after introduction of a graduated driver licensing decal provision.
        Am J Prev Med. 2014; 48: 121-127
        • McCartt A.T.
        • Hellinga L.A.
        • Bratiman K.A.
        Cell phones and driving: review of research.
        Traffic Inj Prev. 2006; 7: 89-106
        • Schafer J.
        • Mastrofski S.
        Police leniency in traffic enforcement encounters: exploratory findings from observations and interviews.
        J Crim Justice. 2005; 33: 225-238
        • Curry A.E.
        • García-España J.F.
        • Winston F.K.
        • Durbin D.R.
        Variation in teen driver education by state requirements and sociodemographics.
        Pediatrics. 2012; 129: 453-457