Objective: This study was designed to investigate the 15-year impact of Georgia's graduated drivers' licensing (GDL) law, the "Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act" (TADRA), on fatality crashes among young drivers.
Methods: Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data for Georgia and Census denominators were used to determine fatal crash rates (FCRs) of drivers ages 16 through 19 who passed through the Georgia GDL system during the 5.5 years prior to through 15.5 years after TADRA's implementation. FCRs of younger drivers were compared to those of drivers ages 20-54 and 55-75 and compared by gender. Attention was given to speeding- and alcohol-related crashes, 2 foci of TADRA.
Results: The decline in FCRs has been maintained and even increased through 15.5 years after passage of the law. Extending the curfew and further limiting passengers (passed in 2001) and driver's education and supervised driving requirements (added in 2007) may have contributed. The greatest declines were among 16- and 17-year-olds; most of the gains were among male drivers. The changes were greatest for alcohol- and speeding-related crashes. Those 18 and 19 years old did not demonstrate an increase in FCR over the period studied.
Conclusion: Georgia's graduated licensing law, TADRA, has maintained and in some instances increased in effectiveness over the 15.5 years since its inception. Though national research suggests that GDL laws are associated with increased crash rates among 18- to 19-year-old drivers, this has not occurred in Georgia; 18- and 19-year-olds demonstrated no change or reductions in FCR over the 20.5-year period evaluated. Declines were greatest for those driving behaviors targeted by the law.
Keywords: evaluation; graduated licensing; motor vehicle crashes; policy; teen driving.