Changes in collision rates among novice drivers during the first months of driving

Accid Anal Prev. 2003 Sep;35(5):683-91. doi: 10.1016/s0001-4575(02)00047-7.


As a group, young drivers have crash rates that far exceed those of older, experienced drivers. But even among teenagers there are age-related differences; crash rates decline consistently and dramatically with each yearly increase in age. A more precise understanding of how crash rates decline within the teenage group might provide insights into when experience is most influential. To address this issue, this study examines month-to-month changes in collisions among new drivers. It was found that crash rates drop most dramatically during the first 6 months of driving. Involvement in certain types of crashes-e.g. run-off-the-road, single-vehicle, night, weekend-declines more rapidly. The findings suggest that novices improve their driving in a relatively short period of time. A graduated driver licensing system is identified as an effective method for ensuring that this development takes place in a more forgiving environment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / classification
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Automobile Driver Examination / statistics & numerical data
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nova Scotia / epidemiology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sex Distribution
  • Time Factors