Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Teen Driver Safety

Student Driving Simulator - CIRP
Several Teen Driving Research studies
currently underway involve the Center's
state-of-the-art driving simulator.

Motor vehicle crashes remain the No. 1 cause of death for teens.Through its multidisciplinary Teen Driving Research program, the Center for Injury Research and Prevention is working to reduce the frequency and severity of teen driver crashes, injuries, and fatalities.

Much of our Teen Driving Research corresponds to at least one of the following three broad categories:

The Teen Driving Research team uses several methodological approaches in its work to help reduce the frequency and severity of crashes involving teens behind the wheel. These include:

  • evidence-based intervention design and evaluation
  • analysis of naturalistic and simulated driving data
  • linkage and analysis of existing data sources

In 2010, the Teen Driving Research team launched, CIRP’s award-winning website that provides parents, teens, educators, and policymakers with the latest information and tools to help prevent teen driver crashes. The site is frequently updated as new research is published, interventions are evaluated, and new recommendations for families and stakeholders about teen driver safety become available.

Key Teen Driving Research Projects

Developing the New Jersey Traffic Safety Outcomes Data Warehouse
Allison E. Curry, PhD, MPH leads this program of research that aims to advance traffic safety research and associated epidemiologic methods through novel administrative data linkages. Learn more about the research.

Portable Driver Simulator Systems (PDSS)
CIRP researchers have partnered with the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Ohio State University to develop and pilot portable driver simulator systems (PDSS) to assess skills of new drivers before they test for their intermediate Ohio driver license. The core of the PDSS software is based on over two decades of CIRP research that resulted in a scientifically validated drive that can assess driver performance in situations known to be critical to safety. Learn more about the research.

Developmental Disabilities and Driving
CHOP's Teen Driver Safety Research team is currently conducting rigorous research on teens and young adults with developmental disabilities to examine their rates of licensure and risk of crashing to help establish the epidemiologic foundation for future translational research. We plan to use this evidence to support the development of interventions that address the unique needs of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to prepare them for safe, independent driving. Learn more about the research.

Effect of New Jersey's Graduated Driver Licensing Decal Provision On Young Intermediate Drivers
The first study found that crash involvement of an estimated 1,624 intermediate drivers was prevented in the first year after the decal's implementation, as well as a 9 percent decrease in the rate of police-reported crashes among intermediate drivers and a 14 percent increase in GDL-related citations issued to intermediate drivers.The second study reported a sustained decline in intermediate driver crashes in the 2-year post-decal period as compared to the 4-year pre-decal period, with crash involvement of an estimated 3,197 intermediate drivers prevented. Further research is being conducted to better understand the causal mechanism by which NJ's decal may have exerted an effect. Learn more about the research.

Distracted Driving Research
CHOP researchers are working with investigators at the University of Pennsylvania to develop behavior change interventions that include strategies to encourage focused attention on driving. The studies test the effects of a web-based educational intervention, as well as different ways to implement technological solutions such as automated blocking of cell phone use and silencing of notifications while the vehicle is in motion. Learn more about the research.

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. Learn more about the research.

Realistic Simulation in a Driving Simulator
Our researchers are using our center's state-of-the-art simulator to develop interventions to help teens manage speed and passengers, as well as other distractions.We are also using it to help improve the assessment of driving skills, to better understand how drivers’ behaviors and emotions can affect driving performance, to develop predictive algorithms to increase driving skills, and to evaluate web-interventions and curriculum for parent-supervised practice driving for teens. Click on "CIRP Driving Simulator" to learn about using this tool in your research.

Teen Outreach Program Evaluation for Driving Safety
CHOP researchers have recently collaborated with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to develop tools to facilitate the evaluation and enhancement of safe driving programs for teens. 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. The final product of this collaborative work was the development of several important resources that are focused on teen driving safety but applicable for a wide range of safety and other public health topics. Learn more about the research.

Learn more about our Teen Driving Research.