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Teen Driving Skills Acquisition and Training

Studies of newly-licensed teen drivers indicate that they exit the learner permit period with significant difficulty executing a variety of driving behaviors. The following projects are currently underway to help teens acquire the necessary skills and experience to drive safely when newly licensed:

  • The TeenDrivingPlan (TDP) Evaluation
    CHOP researchers have developed and evaluated the TeenDrivingPlan (TDP), a web-based program to help parents conduct more effective supervised driving practice. Preliminary evidence indicates that TDP improves the driving performance of teenage permit holders by providing parents with the knowledge and support tools needed to be better driving supervisors. The families that received TDP reported more practice in five of the six driving environments and at night and in bad weather as compared to those families that did not use TDP. Future analyses will explore ways to enhance TDP's effect on young driver performance and how best to disseminate the intervention. Both greater practice quantity and diversity were associated with better driving performance, but only practice diversity mediated the relationship between TDP and driver performance. Read more about study results and how TDP works.

    Please contact Jessica H. Mirman, PhD at (267) 426-6854 or or Dennis Durbin, MD, MSCE for more study information at (215) 590-7331 or

    This project was supported by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm®).

  • The Simulated Driving Assessment (SDA)
    CHOP researchers have developed and validated the Simulated Driving Assessment (SDA), a simulator-based driving assessment that can differentiate between skilled and non-skilled drivers. The development of the SDA  followed more than a decade of foundational CHOP research regarding young driver crashes and over five years of research to create and validate it. The SDA offers for the first time a safe way to assess novice teen drivers' skills in high-risk driving scenarios that commonly lead to crashes. The SDA is a package of software products that runs on commerciallly available driving simulators. As a standard protocol to evaluate teen driver performance, the SDA has the potential to screen and assess for licensure readiness and could be used to guide targeted skill training. Future CHOP studies will further explore the SDA's use in evaluating risky driving behaviors in teens. Read more about the research.


- See more at: more about study results and to view common errors novice teen drivers makePlease contact Flaura Winston, MD, PhD at (215) 590-5208 or or or Catherine McDonald, PhD, RN at (215) 746-8355 or for more study information.

    The project is supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health, and the Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies (CChIPS).


  • Development of an On-Road Driving Assessment for Learner Teen Drivers
    The ability to identify driving skill deficits during the learner permit phase would significantly advance teen driver research. To accomplish this goal, CHOP researchers developed the On-Road Driving Assessment for Learner Teen Drivers (tODA) to assess a wide range of specific driving tasks and characterize the nature of safety-relevant behaviors (classified as "critical errors") that teens make during the learner phase. Initial results show that the tODA expands the reportoire of driving assessments for teens and could be used in research studies or practical evaluations of driving performance.

    Please contact Dennis Durbin, MD, MSCE for more study information at (215) 590-7331 or

    This project was supported by the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at CHOP and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm®).

  • Perpetually Accurate Video Manipulation of Vehicle Speed for Teen Driver Training
    CHOP researchers are working with Parallel Consulting, Petaluma, CA, to develop an innovative tool for training teen drivers in speed management. The goal of the research is to develop and validate an innovative approach for driver's education that uses digital visual effects for manipulating vehicle speed as part of a web-based training system. Previous research has shown that effective training must include naturalistic descriptions that reflect the complexity of a situation. This system will provide perceptually accurate cues that teens will learn to associate with safe speeds so that when they encounter similar situations in real world driving, they will be able to draw on this experiential knowledge to make safe judgments about their speed. Read a blog post about the research.


 Please contact Yi-Ching Lee, PhD, for more study information at

This project is supported by a Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)



teen at CHOP driving simulator

Read more about CHOP's SDA research:


Further reading:

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