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Editorial
September 14, 2011

Strengthening Driver Licensing Systems for Teenaged Drivers

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Arlington, Virginia (Dr McCartt and Mr Teoh).

JAMA. 2011;306(10):1142-1143. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1330

Graduated driver licensing programs are designed to reduce crashes involving teenagers by delaying full licensure while allowing beginners to obtain initial driving experience under lower-risk conditions. Graduated driver licensing strengthens the traditional learner phase by adding elements such as certification of a minimum number of practice driving hours and a minimum learner's permit holding period. It also adds an intermediate license between the learner phase and full licensure that restricts unsupervised driving in risky situations (eg, driving at night and transporting teenaged passengers). Although Florida is credited with having enacted the first graduated driver licensing program in the United States in 1996, the benefits of delaying licensure and restricting nighttime driving were demonstrated in the 1980s and early 1990s.14 Currently, all states and the District of Columbia have enacted some form of graduated driver licensing.

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