Road Management & Engineering Journal
Road Management & Engineering Journal
June 1999
TranSafety, Inc.
(360) 683-6276
Fax: (360) 335-6402

Graduated Licensing

(The following article is reproduced, with permission, from the web site of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety at

In 1997, nearly 42,000 people were killed in traffic crashes and almost 3.4 million more were injured, at a cost of over $150 billion. Young drivers have a much higher fatal crash rate than other drivers and represent a significant highway safety problem. More than a third of the teenagers age 16-19 who died in 1996 (the most recent year for which this information is available) were killed in traffic crashes.

Teen drivers are far more likely than other drivers to be involved in fatal crashes because they lack driving experience and tend to take greater risks due to their immaturity. Graduated licensing is a system of driver licensing that is effective in reducing young driver crash fatalities. It is designed to introduce young drivers to the driving experience gradually, by phasing in full driving privileges over time and in lower-risk settings.

Graduated licensing consists of a learner's stage, an intermediate driving stage and an unrestricted driving stage. Twenty-four states have adopted some features of graduated licensing; a smaller number have adopted all of the key components, including nighttime driving restrictions, limits on teenage passengers and required supervised driving during the intermediate stage. Many more states now actively are considering a graduated licensing system.

Teen Crash Facts

Graduated Licensing Facts

Back to Index       Top of Page