Graduated Licensing Works

Graduated Driver Licensing = Fewer Teen Drunk Driving Crashes

Teen alcohol-related auto accidents have dropped in California after a graduated licensing law for teenagers took effect in 1998.

The alcohol-related accident rate for 16-year-olds dropped 16% the year after the graduated driver license law became effective and 13% in the second year compared to the crash rate before the law went into effect.

Nineteen-year-olds, who were unaffected by the new law, actually experienced an increase in alcohol-related accidents during the same period of time.

The alcohol-related collision rate for 16-year-olds was 5.0 crashes per 100,000 population before the law took effect, 4.2 per 100,00 (16% lower) in the first year and 4.3 per 100,000 in the second year after the law went into effect.

The study was conducted by the Automobile Club of Southern California, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association (AAA). The full report can be viewed on the Auto Club's website.


  • Bloch, S. A., et al. Does Graduated Driver Licensing Reduce drinking and Driving?: An Examination of Califiornia's Teen Driving restrictions. Costa Mesa, CA: Automobile Club of Southern California, 2002. (

Filed Under: Drinking and Driving