traffic accidents

Early Practice May Help Young Drivers Avoid Crashes Interview with:

Johnathon P. Ehsani, PhD Assistant Professor Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Dr. Ehsani

Johnathon P. Ehsani, PhD
Assistant Professor
Johns Hopkins School of Public Health What is the background for this study?

Response: Car crashes are the leading cause of death and disability for young people. So, what can parents do during the learner stage of licensing to reduce their teenagers’ crash risk during independent driving? The learner stage is a brief window of opportunity to influence the safety of their teenager. This is when teenagers are required to practice driving under the supervision of a licensed adult – typically mom or dad. Once teenagers get their license to start driving on their own, their crash risk increases – but parents have fewer chances to intervene at that point. What are the main findings?

Response: In this observational study, we followed 90 families with teenagers when they first received their learner permit all the way through to the end of their first year of independent driving.

We found that teenagers who practiced regularly during the learner stage were less likely to crash once they drove on their own. Teenagers who drove with fewer abrupt maneuvers during the learner stage (e.g. hard braking or sharp turning) were also less likely to crash when they drove independently. What should readers take away from your report?

 Response: Parents may be able to reduce teenagers crash risk during independent driving by encouraging regular practice and discouraging driving behaviors that result in abrupt maneuvers during the learner stage. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: We need to test these associations in an experimental setting. In particular, we need to learn how families can be encouraged to provide regular practice driving for teenagers during the learner stage. 

No disclosures 


Ehsani JP, Gershon P, Grant BJB, et al. Learner Driver Experience and Teenagers’ Crash Risk During the First Year of Independent Driving. JAMA Pediatr. Published online April 06, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.0208



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Last Updated on April 7, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD