Graduated driver licensing (GDL) in the United States in 2016: A literature review and commentary

J Safety Res. 2017 Dec:63:29-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2017.08.010. Epub 2017 Aug 26.


This is the sixth in a series of reviews of research on graduated driver licensing (GDL) published in the Journal of Safety Research, the present review covering the period mid-2012 through 2016. In the two decades since GDL programs began to be introduced on a widespread basis in the United States, a vast amount of research has been published. The current review discusses recent research and the present state of knowledge on the following topics: characteristics of the novice driver population; effects of GDL on crashes for ages 16-19; the learner and intermediate periods; night and passenger restrictions; cellphone laws; GDL for older novices; enforcement of GDL rules; and programs attempting to influence GDL compliance and safe driving practices in general. GDL stands out as a successful policy for reducing teen driver crashes and is worth building on to extend its benefits. Strengthening existing GDL programs has the most potential for producing further crash reductions.

Keywords: Driver licensing; Graduated driver licensing; Motor vehicle crashes; Novice drivers; Young drivers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Adolescent
  • Automobile Driving* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Licensure* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Policy*
  • United States