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Directions in Highway Safety Cover - Summer 2010 Download Newsletter pdf
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Fall 2010 | Vol. 12 | No. 5

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Delaware’s GDL Law Shown to Reduce Teen Crash Rates

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The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) had some good news to share during this year’s National Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 17-23)–the state’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law was found to have caused the crash rates of 16-year-old drivers to decline by 30 percent.

University of Delaware’s Center for Applied Demography & Survey Research evaluated the effect the GDL law had on 16-year-old driver crash rates 10 years after it went into effect. In addition to the 30 percent reduction in the overall crash rate, the report also showed a 30 percent decrease in personal injury crashes and a 59 percent decrease in driving between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

The study concludes that GDL restrictions (such as required supervision and restricted driving hours) were the main reason for the decrease in crashes among 16-year-old drivers. Delaware’s GDL law was passed in 1998 and went into effect the following year. It increased the minimum driving permit age from 15 years and 10 months to 16 years. It also mandated six months of continuous parental supervision and restricted night time driving hours as well as the number of passengers allowed in the vehicle. The law was updated to include a ban on all cell phone use and a twomonth license suspension if a teen driver with a permit (or their passenger under age 18) is found not wearing a seat belt.

According to Delaware Office of Highway Safety Director Jana Simpler, “The GDL law is a great example of how we can help our young people become better drivers and give them the tools and time necessary to improve their safe driving skills before they go out on the roads by themselves.”

For a copy of the Graduated Driver License evaluation, visit and click on “Teen Driving.”