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Understanding adolescent development: implications for driving safety.

PROBLEM: The implementation of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) programs has significantly improved the crash and fatality rates of novice teen drivers, but these rates remain unacceptably high. METHOD: A review of adolescent development research was undertaken to identify potential areas of improvement. RESULTS: Research support for GDL was found to be strong, particularly regarding early acquisition of expertise in driving safety (beyond driving skill), and to limitations that reduce opportunities for distraction. GDL regimes are highly variable, and no US jurisdictions have implemented optimal regimes. SUMMARY: Expanding and improving GDL to enhance acquisition of expertise and self-regulation are indicated for implementation and for applied research. Driver training that effectively incorporates safety goals along with driving skill is another target. IMPACT ON INDUSTRY: The insurance industry will benefit from further GDL enhancements. Benefits may accrue to improved driver training, improved simulation devices during training, and automated safety feedback instrumentation.