Study: Effectiveness of teenage support systems on reducing traffic violation behaviors

Traffic Safety Pulse News

Teenage drivers are at a disproportionate risk of fatal and serious injuries due to motor vehicle crashes. A Field Operational Test (FOT) funded by MnDOT used the Teen Driver Support System (TDSS) smartphone application to collect real-time driving performance data from a cohort of approximately 300 teen drivers, recruited in early 2013, who were monitored over a 12-month period after licensure.

Study results showed the TDSS application’s success in reducing instances of speeding for the two groups that received feedback, compared to teens who received no coaching or parental involvement, was influential in reducing kinematic driving events, e.g., hard braking. This five-year follow-up investigation of the long-term outcomes of the TDSS FOT cohort aimed to determine the frequency of state-recorded traffic citations and crashes along with these drivers’ self-reported driving behaviors and attitudes. Of the original cohort, 251 agreed to be contacted for future studies and 150 were successfully recruited into the follow-up study. A re-examination of the FOT risky driving distributions divided into tertiles (low, moderate, high) found overdispersion of control group teens in the high risky tertiles compared to the two TDSS intervention groups, particularly for speeding-related behaviors and texting. The tertile risk level of early risky driving (e.g., speeding, hard braking) was found to significantly predict long-term safety outcomes for traffic violations/tickets. However, the sample size for crashes among the over sample was too small to determine if the mediating effect of the TDSS on early risky driving resulted in long-term reductions in crashes.