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Do Graduated Driver’s Licenses Work? Mike Males Says No

Written by NYRA Feb 25, 2008

In a ground breaking study, author and sociologist Mike Males,
demonstrates that California’s graduated driver’s license (GDL) has
not, like its proponents claim, made driving safer in the state.
Males’ study gives solid evidence to support the assertion made by
youth rights advocates for years that greater experience produces
better drivers, not age. Many studies have touted the effectiveness
of strict graduated drivers licensing laws, but this study showed an 8% increase in fatal accidents after the GDL law was passed.

This study, published in the National Safety Council’s Journal of
Safety Research looked at the broad effects of the GDL law instead of
looking exclusively on the effects the law has had on teen drivers as
previous studies have done. Previous studies have shown GDL laws to
reduce fatal accidents among drivers under 18. This new study
confirms that fact but looks at how those drivers behave on the roads
after the GDL restrictions expire at age 18. The study shows that
drivers aged 18-21 who learned to drive under GDL experienced far more
fatal accidents than drivers who never had GDL. A full 24% increase
in fatal accidents among 18-year-old drivers. This increase more than
offset the lives saved among 16-year-olds.

This important study confirms the notion that GDLs do not produce
better drivers, they just deny useful experience to young drivers who
will experience a dangerous learning curve at 18 instead of 16 like
before.

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