Abstracts of the 7th World Congress on Pediatric Critical Care
Background and aims: Motor vehicle crashes(MVCs) are the most common cause of death in the United States for adolescents. Since 1998, Massachusetts has implemented a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system requiring teenagers to gain experience under conditions of low crash risk before gaining full privileges.
Aims: To evaluate the impact of changes to strengthen Massachusetts’ GDL law on MVCs in 16-18 year olds, and to assess whether these effects persist into young adulthood.
Methods: Massachusetts MVC rates were analyzed for drivers aged 16-24 years during two time periods: 2002-2006, before the GDL law was strengthened, and 2007(fourth quarter)-2010, after implementation. Piecewise regression was performed to test whether the rate of change in crash rates by quarter was different for the two time periods, after controlling for age and sex of the driver.
Results: MVC rates for drivers aged 16-24 declined by 0.5% per quarter prior to implementation of changes to GDL in 2007, with an accelerated drop of 3.7% per quarter after 2007, a difference of 3.5% (p< 0.001). Results: showed a significant difference in hour of crash and age group of driver. For those 16-18, the percentage of crashes occurring between 12-5am dropped from 7.2% before 2007 to 6.3% after 2007 (p<0.001). For 19-24-year olds there was a similar decrease during those hours from 12.1% before 2007 to 11.2% after 2007.
Conclusions: Changes to the Massachusetts GDL law in 2007 to enhance driver education, as well as to enact stricter penalties for violations have contributed to a significant decline in crash rates for Massachusetts youth. These effects persist into young adulthood.