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HBB Research - Young Drivers

Parental Management of Young Drivers

This series of randomized trials evaluate the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions to improve teenage driving performance by improving parental management. These studies evaluate in-vehicle feedback from accelerometers and the Checkpoints Program for increasing parental management of teen drivers. The Checkpoints Program includes persuasive communications, including a nine-minute videotape, "Who Wants to be a Driver?" These materials have been designed to increase families' perceived risk, outcome expectations, and self-efficacy of parental management, and to promote the adoption of the Checkpoints Parent-Teen Driving Agreement.

Connecticut Young Drivers Intervention Study

A sample of approximately 4,000 families in Connecticut was recruited at the time the teen passed the test for a learner's permit. Families were assessed five times, from recruitment until 12 months post-licensure. Intervention materials were delivered over an extended period prior to licensure. The first 450 families were treated as a "vanguard" to allow the researchers to test the protocol and make changes before full implementation. Analyses of treatment group differences with the vanguard indicated effects on parental restrictions through 12 months. Analyses of the full trial are ongoing.

Rhode Island Checkpoints Study

The purpose of this study is to determine the efficacy of personal persuasion for increasing parent limit setting on the driving conditions of novice teen drivers. Families are recruited at the time the teen obtains a permit and receive the Checkpoints intervention delivered in person by trained staff. They receive the intervention again, delivered in person by trained staff at licensure.

The Michigan Driver Education Study

Two studies are underway in collaboration with investigators at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. These group randomized trials will evaluate the efficacy of implementing the Checkpoints Program during driver education courses. In the first study, research staff deliver the intervention. In the second study, driver education instructors are trained to deliver the intervention.

In-Vehicle Feedback and Risky Teenage Driving

Novice teenage drivers were randomized to immediate feedback only or immediate feedback to teenager only plus summarized feedback to the teenager and the teenagers’ parents. The participants’ vehicles were instrumented with DriveCam event feedback devices. After a few weeks when event data were collected but no feedback was provided, the devices were turned on. In the immediate feedback Lights Only group, a blinking light came after an elevated gravitational force event. In the Lights Plus group the driver received immediate feedback and the family received weekly summarized feedback, including access to the video of events. Kinematic risky driving did not change in the Lights Only group, but declined significantly in the Lights Plus group. It appears that feedback with potential consequences was effective but feedback alone was not.

Principal Investigator

Bruce Simons-Morton, Ed.D., M.P.H.


Last Reviewed: 09/09/2014

Contact Information

Name: Dr Stephen Gilman
Acting Branch Chief
Health Behavior Branch
Phone: 301-435-8395

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