Effectiveness of Advisory Letters in Preventing At-Risk Teen Driver Crashes: Pilot Project

Reducing crashes, in particular those that result in injury or fatality, is an on-going struggle for agencies tasked with reducing crashes and making our roads safer. Any ability to predict these crashes would allow the agencies tasked with traffic safety to develop an intervention targeting these drivers to change their behavior and ultimately reduce the number of crashes. Teen drivers are ideally suited for this type of intervention for several reasons. They are disproportionately over-represented in crashes, with teens accounting for only 4% of the driver population, but accounting for 10% of crashes. Also, a large share of teen crashes occurs within the first year after licensure due to a lack of driving experience. Lastly, the learning curve at this point in their driving history is still large, which makes teen drivers more susceptible to these interventions. Using North Dakota driver's licensing data and crash data, logistic regression modeling identifies gender, traffic convictions, rural/urban, and involvement in previous property damage only (PDO) crashes as markers that are significant in predicting injury and fatal crashes in teen drivers. According to the model, living in an urban area increases your risk of being in an injury or fatal accident within the first year after attaining your license by 2.5 times compared to drivers who live in rural areas. Drivers involved in a previous PDO crash are 25 times more likely to be involved in an injury or fatal crash than those not involved in a previous PDO crash. While graduated licensing and other population-based driver improvement programs have shown promise as tools for reducing teen crash risk, a real-time performance-based intervention such as this offers an important supplemental for targeting the highest risk teen drivers. Crash risk markers, or predictors, may be used in a preventative intervention such as an advisory letter to parents or warning letters to teen drivers who exhibit the risk markers, hopefully, altering their behavior and reducing their likelihood of being involved in an injury or fatal crash. Specific training or education requirements attached to licensure may also be an intervention strategy, but would be beyond the bounds of administrative agency authority in most cases. The goal of this project is to determine if some type of intervention letter will be effective in reducing teen crashes. The first step will be to develop several letters that offer different message strengths and target either the teen drivers or their parents. Several approaches, including possibly one for rural versus urban or male versus female, may also be developed to test a range of interventions in an attempt to find one or more effective interventions.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $97000.00
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Kline, Robin

  • Performing Organizations:

    Mountain-Plains Consortium

    North Dakota State University
    P.O. Box 6050, Department 2880
    Fargo, ND  United States  58108-6050
  • Principal Investigators:

    Vachal, Kim

  • Start Date: 20120101
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20160131
  • Source Data: RiP Project 30053

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01483297
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Mountain-Plains Consortium
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC08, MPC-368
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Jun 6 2013 1:03AM