Reducing young driver crash casualties in Great Britain – use of routine police crash data to estimate the potential benefits of graduated driver licensing

  • Published: International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, 20, 321-330
  • Authors: Jones, S., J., Begg, D., J., Palmer, S., R
  • Date Added: 28 Mar 2013
  • Last Update: 12 Jan 2018
  • Format: pdf


To estimate the potential casualty reduction and cost savings of introducing possible GDL systems in Great Britain.


Police road crash data from 2000-9 were analysed to identify young driver crashes at night or while carrying passengers to estimate potential savings of having two types of GDL systems in place.

The systems differed in terms of strictness with the most restrictive preventing driving (without a supervisor aged over 25 with a full driving licence) between 9pm and 6am and carrying passengers aged 15-24 years.

The less restrictive model prevented driving 10pm-5am and carrying more than two passengers aged 15-19 years old. The two models were applied over a three year period to the police crash data from ages 17-19 years. A 50% compliance rate was assumed.

Key Findings:

  • Young driver crashes were twice as likely as older driver crashes to occur 9pm-6am and five times more likely than older drivers when carrying at least one passenger.

  • Estimation of likely benefit with the strict GDL system with a range of compliance rates was 57-206 deaths per year and 436-1569 serious casualties per year.

  • The cost saving was valued at £137M per year.

  • See the paper for a range of casualty outcome reductions depending on the strictness of the possible GDL systems implemented and different compliance rates.


There are significant caveats associated with the findings here. Some of these are associated with limitations of the STATS19 data causing potential measurement error leading to over or under measurement of young driver crashes. It is difficult to predict compliance rates in GB due to the contextual differences between jurisdictions where GDL has been implemented and GB. While results of a range of compliance rates have been given, the findings of the study need to be treated with caution.