Date of Award

12-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Economics

Advisor

Warren, Patrick

Committee Member

Warner , John

Committee Member

Cvrcek , Tomas

Abstract

Beginning in 1996, states began adopting what is known as the graduated driver's licensing system (GDL) in an attempt to reduce traffic hazards for teenagers. This was a response to previous literature which suggested teens had an elevated risk for motor vehicle hazards, compared to all other age groups. The GDL system is split into three separate stages, in an attempt to ease the teenagers into the driving process. These stages are known as the permit stage, the restricted stage, and the unrestricted stage. While much of the past literature has focused on whether or not the GDL system is effective, few, if any, studies have tested the effect of driving experience on reducing driving fatalities. To answer this question, I collected FARS crash fatality data from 1996-2009 for drivers aged 16-22 for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. I find that driving experience does have a statistically significant effect on reducing driving fatalities, even more so than age. I also find no significant difference in the long run (5 years +) between daytime driving experience and nighttime driving experience, while daytime experience is more effective in the short run (1-4 years). Current policies in most states force the individual to have more daytime than nighttime experience, due to restrictions placed on what time the individual can drive at night. My findings indicate that nighttime restrictions are a hindrance to an individual's driving ability.

Included in

Economics Commons

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