Graduated driver licensing for reducing motor vehicles crashes among young drivers (Review)

  • Published: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD003300, (2011, October)
  • Authors: KF Russell, B Vandermeer, L Hartling
  • Date Added: 28 Mar 2013
  • Last Update: 12 Jan 2018
  • Format: html


To examine the effectiveness of GDL systems in reducing crash rates of young drivers.


Studies were identified through searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Health star, Web of Science, NTIS Bibliographic Database, TRIS Online, SIGLE, the World Wide Web, relevant conference proceedings, consultation with experts and authors, and reference lists. The searches were conducted from the time of inception to May 2009 and the Cochrane Injuries Group conducted updated search of the TRANSPORT database in September 2009. The search was not restricted by language or publication status.

Studies were included if: 1) they compared outcomes pre- and post-implementation of a GDL program within the same jurisdiction, 2) comparisons were made between jurisdictions with and without GDL, or 3) both.

Studies had to report at least one objective, quantified outcome.

Results were not pooled due to substantial heterogeneity. Percentage change was calculated for each year after the intervention, using one year prior to the intervention as baseline. Results were adjusted for the different crash types and presented for 16 year-olds alone as well as teenage drivers.

Key Findings:

  • 34 studies were included evaluating 21 GDL programmes and 2 analyses of less than 40 US states.

  • GDL systems were implemented in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and varied in terms of restrictions included.

  • Reductions in crash rates were seen in all jurisdictions and for all crash types.

  • The authors conclude that GDL is effective in reducing crash rates among young drivers although the magnitude of the effect varies.

  • Stricter restrictions in GDL systems appear to result in greater fatality reduction.