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Teen researchers examine graduated driver's license

By: Katie Mastoris and Kristen Cucinotta

Date: Wednesday, 26. July 2006

The authors are 13 year old middle school students from Westampton, New Jersey, USA. They participated in the Research Offered for Gifted And Talented Education (R.O.G.A.T.E.) program and received a Bronze Award. They were required to create a hypothesis, conduct research, and then make a 12 minute presentation on their findings to a panel of judges, either proving or disproving the hypothesis.

Congratulations to Kristen and Katie from! We hope you continue to examine these issues.

Why do kids dream of the day they will turn seventeen? Seventeen is the magic age when they will get their driver's license. Teenagers have been fantasizing about the dream car they have always wanted. Well, that all may soon change. Teenagers just might be waiting a little longer to get their full privileged driver's licenses.

We, like so many of our peers, are anxiously awaiting our driving privileges. We decided to research the subject of the New Graduated Driver's License. The hypothesis we set out to prove or disprove was: The changing of the traditional license law to the Graduated License Law will not have any effect on accidents in a given year .

The Graduated Driver's License would still enable New Jersey teenagers to obtain their permit at the age of sixteen, but full license privileges would not go into effect until the age of eighteen. At age seventeen, the number of unrelated people driving in the car with you as the licensed driver would be limited, as would driving between the hours of midnight and five in the morning.

Our research included visiting many web sites and reading a lot of magazine and newspaper articles, including summaries about a young teenage boy who was killed in an accident from either stupidity or anger. Both LIFE Magazine and Time Magazine gave statistics on the number of accidents caused by teenage drivers and included data on the time of day the accidents occurred. The articles showed that even hard working, responsible teens with good grades were often the cause of accidents and were sometimes ticketed for their driving mistakes. Only a few of the web sites we visited discussed the new Graduated Drivers License Law, but those that did indicated they believed that the number of accidents and deaths would most likely be reduced. We sent out many letters, questionnaires, and e-mails to experts in the field, as well as to parents, new drivers, and experienced elderly drivers. We asked them what age group they believed cause the most accidents and why they think that age group causes the most accidents.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety sent us books filled with charts and statistics supporting our hypothesis for the years 1997 and 1998. We also received statistics and charts from the American Coalition for Traffic Safety in Virginia supporting our hypothesis that the Graduated License Law would not reduce the number of deaths. Although three of our six primary resources agreed with our hypothesis, the other three did not.

Most of the research we gathered stated that teens, elders, and males cause most of the accidents. As you can see in the following charts, the results of our surveys show that most people believe 15 - 19 year old drivers cause the most accidents, and this is mainly due to inexperience.

The time of day that crashes occur is another huge reason why states are moving in the direction of the Graduated License Law. The chart below shows that most accidents occur between noon and five o'clock in the afternoon.

Source: Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts Table 1.28

According to the above chart, between the time of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., when the graduated license law bans teens from driving, the least amount of accidents occur. Why would legislators ban teens during a time when the least amounts of accidents occur?

In conclusion, we have found information to both prove and disprove our hypothesis: The changing of the traditional license law to the Graduated Driver's License Law will not have any effect on accidents in a given year . Therefore, our hypothesis was inconclusive. All drivers must understand and obey the laws of the road. If not, there will surely be many more restrictions in the years to come.

However, even if the Graduated License Law is not in effect when we become eligible for our driver's licenses, we are certain that our parents will be instituting a "Graduated Driver's License" of their own. We know they will not allow us to drive beyond 11 o'clock at night and will not allow us to have more than one other person in the car at any time. So whenever the new system is put into effect, perhaps there will not be as much impact as predicted.

Further comments to this article have been disabled.

All Comments (42)

Showing 1 - 42 comments


Hi! I am 15 years old, and I believe that although many teenagers in this day and age are irresponsible and stupid, those who do their best to get good grades and be a responsible, hard-working adolescent should have their chance to show that they are man (or woman) enough to take on that large responsibility. Has anyone here had this question asked of them:
Should teenagers' be required to have at least a "C" in their grades before learning how to drive? I was curious as to what others' opinions are on this matter.

Cassidy Adamson,

they should start at an older age because they have devolped more than 14 year olds.


What about Canadians?


Why wouldn't you have legit statistics to compare to instead of just what people think?!


i think that the age limit of age 16 is the perfect age, for i am turing 16 an have plenty of driving, from practicing with my parents on back roads..yes people say "ohh your too young to drive" blah blah blah give it a rest, driving honestly isn't a big deal as long as you have a good head on your shoulders and you actually know what your doing, not only that but you have to wait atleast 6 months before your actual "licence" which means "us" teens get about 500 hours worth of driving with a person over the age of 18..we dont need to be judged just because of other countless teens who want to show off an be immature on the road go for it but your only thinking about those teens not the other half who acutally know how to drive. thank ya (:

Kyle Maxam,

In every country, should you be seventeen to get your divers licence?


sure, but how do you decide who's responsible and who's not. Let tell you about the brother of friend. Great guy, looked very responsible, but then out of nowhere he does something crazy - drinking and driving.

almost klled three people


I don't understand why you have to be 18 to get your license. Just because you are young and 16 does not mean you are more prone to accidents. It all depends on the rules and the maturity. Other kids shouldnt have to suffer for the ones that get their license for other reasons. I have seen a 17 year old drive much more safely than a 50 year old. We don't even think about older age driving. If we have to be at least 18 to drive on the streets than old folks should have to stop driving the streets at 55.

Good job,

You are very smart young man you are very intelligent


im 14 and think that of these comments on here that nothing to do with this web site are really stupid and spoilled little brats that thier parents never thoght them a lesson you all need a spankin


If Im seveenteen years old and I live in Texas do I have to wait six months for my license?


After reading this, I myself can conclude that changing the driving age would not be beneficial. If it wouldn't reduse the amount of accidents, there is no need to change it.


fun and danger --- that's a very good way to look at it!

Karlz Pakoa,

I think we are victims of our own laws.
Teens shouldn't drive until they are old enough to differentiate fun and danger.
this website is very helpful. thanks.




BILLY THAT IS WELLLLLLL OFFENSIVE LIKEE! i am too young to die and i wish to die in a peaceful manner, this has helped me a great deal with my coursework fanx sooo much you rock ma worldddd!


Hey thanks for the statisics but the rest was kinda blahh anyway i still think that the program sucks and its the stupid idiots who ruined driving for us!!


this is stupid
everybody should die
what is this article about anyway?
piloting a plane?
who knows


I have an opinion essay on this so thanks

I am better then u,

I have a debate tomorrow on if the driveing age should be raise ur paper didnt help 1 bit. Thnaxs for nothin!!!


excuse my spelling XP


thank you so much for your report, some info of yourse really helped! ofcourse i used qoutes when copying some of your information...i hope u dont mind ^.^ this really helped my papers and im amazed that someone my age could write something like eternaly in your debt xp

Russell Carter,

I live in Ontario, Canada and the system here is similar ... one receives a "G1" license at age 16 which is similar to a permit ... then "G2" is received 12 months later at the minimum, followed by the regular "G" after yet another 12 months at the minimum ... as encouraging as the system may sound, it is just too long

Molly Cousins,

I have to debate the topic of whether or not Virginia driver's licenses should be restricted.....I have to say that they shouldn't be restricted. I'm having a hard time coming up with any information that supports this side. I feel that graduated licenses are a good thing, and have resulted in safer drivers, but the side I have to defend says there should be no restrictions. Any help? Where should I look?


Yes, your report did make mine easier. I found your pie charts very useful. I would just like to pose a question:

Should the elderly be allowed to drive? If so, what can we do to prevent/lower accidents from happening because of the conditions of the elderly? (taking into account their reaction times and eyesight).


hey im from new zealend nd there are good reasons behind why our ages are so young such as we are a rural country and thats where we get most of our money from as a country so many times it is impossible for parents to drop their work and drive their kids 10-20+ minutes into town nd i mean town not the city so there are no bus or trains that you could catch nd also how are us 15yr old or teenagers supposed to get experience if it is illegal to drive and lastly i knew those fifteen yr olds so id appreciate it if you new the whole story before you go saying stuff like that cuz theres a whole other side of the story that you obviously don't know.Beside its not the age its the tutoring the responsibility the circumstance and sadly the gender for all you males(yes statistics prove it)


I am reading your comments with interest, I have been instructing for some 47 years aroud the world and have ended up in New Zealand where the driving age starts at 15 with no compulsory insurance and drive vehicles such as WRX's, twin turbo'd Skylines etc. Many 15 + year olds drivers break their licence restriction and from some of the, shall I say childish remarks, on this forum I presume that this type of attitude in car results in what we are seeing in NZ including 5 15 year olds dead last week-end.


I'm impressed with the level of research from such young scholars.

I'm also impressed that, unlike a handful of their critics, they are able to formulate a rational argument without name-calling. (or Excessive CaptaliZation and PunctuaTion!!!!!)

Poor Taj. Should we tell him his teacher can simply type a string of eight or ten words from his paper into any search engine (including his beloved Google) and find this page? Nah! Let's let him enjoy the discovery learning method!


Plagiarising is illegal...Taj, you could get arrested.


i'm gonna copy your paper and put my name on it and say that i wrote it!!!Ilove Google!!!!!! suck.




As it happens, I am researching a similar hypothesis and current stats show that the GDL does in fact decrease the over all number of crashes involving 15- to 19-year-olds. This is, of course, in the states that have at least a 3 step license procedure. Further, 41% of injuries resulting in death for teens between the ages of 15-19 involve motor vehicles. Think about it.


it is a very good idea that you are trying 2 help change the age because to many teens now try to drink/drive, do drugs, party and have sex


I wish that you would give more factual statistics. The belief and oppinion piechart is pretty cool and interesting, but it doesn't give enough information that you can use.

a m b e r <3,

Wow ! I Think That Teens Should Be Able To Drive ! And They Shouldnt Have To Go Through That Two Years Bull$h!t Of Having To Drive With Someone Who Has There Liscence!

ED -,

To those who left compliments above - thanks, we're trying. To those who left wacky remarks - we try not to censor too much. To those who left offensive language - take time. You'll mature. We get these every now and again and remove them as soon as possible.

To those who think driver ed is boring - yeah, OK. We're working on that.


All Kilmer Students rock my world

Thank you,

without u my research paper would be a disaster. Oh, and plz don't post messages with bad language on it!!!

Screw you,

You, my friend(s), are a complete douchebag for writing this.

You are also a noob.

That is all.


This site really helped me out write a reasearch paper on Graduated Licenses. Your facts and statistics really help out my paper. Thanks!


Night time crashes could never be as high as day time crashes due to the fact that more people are awake during the day than at night. Higher volume of traffic and visability is better but as might notice though day time drivers are considerably slower in speed than at night generally speaking. I have driven deliveries for 16-18 hours a day 4 times a week and I've noticed this driving behavior. I believe though that night time accidents result in single accidents not usually involving another car given fact that less cars are on the road. It all depends were you are and when you drive.

I think graduated licencing is a waste of time and money for the most part. Much stricter driving tests are needed and letting people on the road because the person is able to make a few turns and park without crashing at that moment won't help at all for safety.

Putting a 16 year old behind that wheel is not unusual 10 years ago but I bet that only a few were capable of controlling a car and being responsible. It all depends on the person not the suggested age or gender. Bring in a much more strict testing system for people and then you'll find that much less people are on the road and find that more responsible drivers take up a bigger fraction than just few, like it is now.

Toni Ziganash,

I would like to see statistics on the time of day of fatalities. Although I can well understand that more crashes would occur during higher traffic hours, I'm also certain that a much higher percentage of night crashes would result in fatalities.

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