We realize Graduated Driver Licensing systems save lives. Numerous studies show a correlation between GDL and the decreased number of crashes involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers. Studies examining the effects of GDL on 18- and 19-year-old drivers have produced conflicting results, however.
Until recently, researchers felt GDL restrictions may encourage young people to wait to receive licenses until they turn 18, which is when most states’ GDL restrictions end. Not going through GDL may not have prepared new drivers for the challenges they would face when getting behind the wheel having had little supervised driving experience. A new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates avoiding GDL restrictions actually may have little bearing on why teens today delay licensure. The data show, among other things, the economy might be to blame.