School of Health in Social Science

Promoting Transportation Safety in Adolescence

With funding from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), the long-term goal of this research is to identify effective programs that can reduce adolescents' risk for motor vehicle crashes (MVCs).

Using a randomized controlled trial design our team is evaluating a comprehensive program to determine if it can reduce teen drivers’ crash risk during the first year of licensure.

Teen drivers account for a disproportionate number of fatal and nonfatal injuries from motor vehicle crashes. Crashes are due to the combination of inexperience with the driving task and factors associated with youth. Evidence is emerging that a comprehensive and individualized intervention approach can reduce crash risk.

Formative intervention work includes:

1. Efficacy studies that demonstrated a web-based parenting program can improve teenagers’ supervised driving practice and their driving performance of teenagers before licensure

2. Participating in a comprehensive on-road driver assessment experience prior with feedback prior to licensure may reduce police-reported crash risk

3. Health coaching in primary care can help parents talk to their teens about traffic safety topics

4. Increasing teenagers’ pre-license practice diversity improves driver performance


Project team
Jessica Hafetz Mirman Catherine McDonald, University of Pennsylvania
Leann Long, University of Alabama at Birmingham Carol Ford, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia