Conference Proceeding

Risky Driving by Recently Licensed Teens: Self-Reports and Simulated Performance

  • Teresa M Senserrick (The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA)
  • Timothy Brown (Univesity of Iowa, Iowa City)
  • Dawn Marshall (Univesity of Iowa, Iowa City)
  • D Alex Quistberg (The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA)
  • Ben Dow (Univesity of Iowa, Iowa City)
  • Flaura K Winston (The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA)


U.S. teens are overrepresented in motor vehicle crashes, with the majority due to driver error; however, causal pathways remain to be elucidated. This research aimed to identify driving performance factors that might underlie newly-licensed male teens’ risk. Surveys were conducted with 21 16-year-olds at the time of intermediate licensure. During the second month of licensure they completed drives in a high-fidelity simulator. Simulator scenarios allowed assessment of responses to yellow traffic lights changing to red and to a visual search task, for which previous data on older age groups of drivers were available. All teens had an A or B grade point average, previously found to be associated with lower crash and citation risk. Nonetheless, 71% reported risky driving in terms of prior unlicensed, unsupervised driving. In the simulator, 46% went through an intersection as the light turned red, compared to 33% of adults. In the visual search task, teens had shorter mean perception-reaction times and identified more targets than adults and older drivers, but similar to young drivers. Therefore, even teens with good grades, perceived to be less risky, were willing to take driving risks. Their driving performance suggests there may be subtle differences in the way recently-licensed teens drive that might predispose them to crashes. Further research of this nature can increase understanding of such differences and inform the development of more targeted intervention.

How to Cite:

Senserrick, T. & Brown, T. & Marshall, D. & Quistberg, D. & Dow, B. & Winston, F., (2007) “Risky Driving by Recently Licensed Teens: Self-Reports and Simulated Performance”, Driving Assessment Conference 4(2007), 541-548. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2007 the author(s)

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Published on
12 Jul 2007
Peer Reviewed