Young Driver Compliance With Graduated Driver Licensing Restrictions Before and After Implementation of a Decal Provision

J Adolesc Health. 2018 May;62(5):612-617. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.11.292. Epub 2018 Feb 9.


Purpose: In May 2010, New Jersey implemented the first-in-the-nation decal provision to increase intermediate drivers' compliance with Graduated Driver Licensing restrictions and ultimately reduce young driver crashes. We previously found that the provision was associated with a 9.5% decline in crash rates. This study evaluates whether the decal provision was associated with an increase in compliance with passenger and nighttime restrictions.

Methods: We analyzed New Jersey driver licensing and crash data from 2008 through 2012. We used the quasi-induced exposure method to estimate prevalence of noncompliance among 20,593 nonresponsible 17- to 20-year-old intermediate drivers involved in crashes. Multivariate log-binomial regression models compared the monthly prevalence of noncompliance with restrictions pre and post implementation, adjusted for age, sex, season, and area income and population density. Analyses were conducted in 2016-2017.

Results: Overall estimated noncompliance with the nighttime restriction was 1.75% before and 1.71% after the decal provision (p = .83). Noncompliance with the passenger restriction was 8.68% before and 8.31% after (p = .35). Introduction of the decal provision was not associated with a change in noncompliance rates.

Conclusions: Compliance rates among New Jersey intermediate drivers were high both before and after the decal provision. Findings do not suggest that the decline in crash rates following implementation was because of increased compliance with nighttime or passenger driving restrictions. Additional research is needed to understand mechanisms by which decal provisions may reduce young driver crashes.

Keywords: Graduated driver licensing; Probationary drivers; Vehicle identifier.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Licensure / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Male
  • New Jersey
  • Young Adult