[Skip to Navigation]
Comment & Response
October 5, 2020

Public Policies Protect Young Drivers—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Injury Research and Policy, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174(12):1215-1216. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.2588

In Reply The letter by Sawyer and Ivers in response to our article1 highlights the need for a comprehensive suite of public policies to reduce young driver deaths. They draw attention to Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) policies, which have been effective in reducing young driver crashes, primarily by delaying licensure and reducing exposure to high-risk conditions. Increasing the driving age also reduces crash deaths by eliminating the opportunity of driving at a younger age (thereby restricting crash possibility), with some modest age-related effects due to maturation.2 These approaches are important and need to be complemented by measures that increase young drivers’ skill. In other words, GDL’s success has come from its focus on restricting access to high-risk contexts and not on directly improving drivers’ competence. To address skill development, parents require guidance on how to implement the practice driving requirements of GDL during the learner license period. This was the focus of our research. Despite thousands of young driver deaths each year, the nature of practice driving (amount, variety, and frequency) that confers a safety benefit during the highest-risk years of independent licensure remains unknown.

Add or change institution