Young Drivers' License and Crash Patterns in New Jersey
Previous nationally representative surveys have described important reasons why teens delay getting a driver's license but have been unable to estimate population-level licensure rates and trends. CIRP researchers used the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission's Licensing and Registration Database to analyze population-based rates of licensure among youth ages 17 to 20 years (n=255,833) overall and by key socioeconomic factors. This analysis also looked at trends in licensure from 2006 to 2011.
- While virtually all 18- to 20-year-old New Jersey residents in the highest income areas are licensed by age 21, more than one in three residents in the lowest income areas are not licensed by age 21.
- 40 percent of all residents in New Jersey – and half of those eventually licensed by age 21 – obtain a license in the first month they are eligible, but this looks very different for zip codes by income:
--Among those living in the lowest income zip codes, only 13 percent are licensed within one month of turning 17, and only 36 percent are licensed by age 18.
--65 percent of those living in NJ's highest income zip codes are licensed immediately upon turning 17, and 78 percent are licensed within six months.
--A look at licensing trends by zip code-level race/ethnicity found that 92 percent of teens in zip codes with the highest proportion of non-Hispanic white residents were licensed by age 18 compared with 39 percent in zip codes with the lowest proportion of this group.
- A look at licensing trends by zip code-level race/ethnicity found that 92 percent of teens in zip codes with the highest proportion of non-Hispanic white residents were licensed by age 18 compared with 39 percent in zip codes with the lowest proportion of this group.
- In NJ, the rates and timing of licensure have remained stable since 2006 despite changes to the state's GDL provisions and the economic recession, indicating that this is not a recession-driven trend. Also stable is the median age of licensure among those licensed by age 21: 17 years 1 month. From 2006 to 2011, 8,257 to 8,653 17- to 20-year- olds were issued licenses each year.
Read the full report: Young Driver Licensing in New Jersey: Rates and Trends, 2006-2011.
A second report examined the independent and joint contributions of age at licensure, driving experience, and GDL license phase on 24-month crash rates among the population of NJ drivers who were first licensed from age 17 through 20. Crash rates by age of licensure, driving experience (based on time since licensure) and GDL licensure phase were calculated to determine crash risk.
- In NJ, age and experience matter when it comes to young driver crash rates. Where full GDL applies to all novice drivers under age 21, crash rates among teens licensed at age 18 are 33 percent lower after 12 months of driving as compared to their crash rates after one month of driving.
- Relative to adult drivers, crash rates among NJ's 17- and 18-year-old drivers decreased significantly after the state implemented its GDL system in 2001.
Read the full report: Young Driver Crash Rates By Driving Experience, Age, and License Phase.
A current study includes the analysis of NJ-TSO, a rich unique database that provides the full licensing, citation, and crash history of every NJ driver, to determine characteristics of crashes involving older novice drivers in New Jersey.
For more information on these studies, please contact Allison E. Curry, PhD, MPH at (215) 590-3118 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This project is supported by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Read more about the research's implications for legislative and programmatic policy.
Read a blog post from Allison E. Curry, PhD, about the research.