Completed and Foundational Teen Driving Safety Research

For more than a decade, the Teen Driving Safety Research team at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has conducted research to help prevent teen crashes. This completed and foundational teen driving safety research has furthered the science and promoted public policy changes to keep everyone safe on the roads.

Many of the following teen driving safety projects have led to new areas of research for the Teen Driving Safety Research team at CIRP and partnerships with public health partners to share evidenced-informed educational resources.

Key Completed and Foundational Projects

TeenDrivingPlan (TDP)

The development of TDP, an interactive web-based program to help parents more effectively supervise driving practice, involved five years of formative research followed by a randomized, controlled trial of young drivers and their parent supervisors. Key TDP study results show that the intervention increases parent engagement as driving supervisors, practice variety, and parent support of teens. Young drivers that used TDP over a 24-week period were 65 percent less likely to fail a rigorous on-road driving assessment than those not given access to TDP. Families who used TDP also reported more driving practice in various environments, at night, and in bad weather. 

The Simulated Driving Assessment (SDA)

CHOP researchers have developed and validated the Simulated Driving Assessment (SDA), a simulator-based driving assessment that can differentiate between skilled and non-skilled drivers. The development of the SDA followed more than a decade of foundational CHOP research regarding young driver crashes and over five years of research to create and validate it. The SDA offers for the first time a safe way to assess novice teen drivers' skills in high-risk driving scenarios that commonly lead to crashes. The SDA is a package of software products that runs on commercially available driving simulators. As a standard protocol to evaluate teen driver performance, the SDA has the potential to screen and assess for licensure readiness and could be used to guide targeted skill training. Future CHOP studies will further explore the SDA's use in evaluating risky driving behaviors in teens.

Outreach Teen Driving Program Evaluation

CHOP researchers collaborated with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to develop tools to facilitate the evaluation and enhancement of community outreach programs for teen driver safety. The two-year project included stakeholder interviews in the community, review of existing programs both within the state and across the nation, and interactive workshops with traffic safety professionals.

Prevalence of Teen Driver Errors Leading to Serious Motor Vehicle Crashes

In this study, CHOP researchers were able to pinpoint why teen drivers crash. es. Driver error was by far the most common reason for crashes (95.6 percent), as opposed to vehicle or environmental factors.   

On-Road Driving Assessment

The teen On-Road Driving Assessment(tODA) was validated for use in the development of TeenDrivingPlan (TDP), an evidence-based interactive web-based program to help parents more effectively supervise their teens' practice driving.

Ride Like a Friend

Developed at CIRP, RLAF was a peer-to-peer social marketing campaign teens used in schools to encourage safe driver and passenger behavior and was an excellent example of program theory in practice.

National Young Driver Survey

In 2006, The National Young Driver Survey (NYDS) was created to help Teen Driver Safety researchers better understand how teens perceive and experience driving. Ten research papers were published in the scientific literature and insights learned from NYDS helped CIRP determine future lines of research that would contribute most – and have the greatest impact – on teen driver safety.

Miles to Go Reports

Between 2011 and 2013, CIRP published this annual report series. Miles to Go monitored teen driving safety statistics and trends, providing a yearly snapshot of teen driving safety statistics for the nation. Access the reports here.