Contributions from the Behavioral and Social Sciences in Reducing and Preventing Teen Motor Vehicle Crashes

Type: Consensus Study
Topics: Children, Youth and Families, Public Health
Board: Board on Children, Youth, and Families

Activity Description

This committee of the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine will draw upon new insights from the behavioral, cognitive, social, and biological sciences, especially in the area of adolescent development and learning processes, that might be applied to prevention strategies to reduce motor vehicle crash rates and to promote responsible behaviors among teen drivers. 

The committee and workshop participants will be asked to apply this new research to five questions:

  1. What findings from the behavioral, cognitive, social, health, and biological sciences offer new evidence-based opportunities or nontraditional prevention strategies that promote responsible teen driving and reduce risky behaviors?
  2. Is there sufficient evidence to identify different risk categories of teen drivers in terms of the intentionality of their motor vehicle behaviors, and their attitudes towards and beliefs about safe driving practices?  Can a risk category framework be used to improve the quality of motor vehicle injury prevention strategies as well as efforts to promote responsible driving?
  3. Are there opportunities to apply the emerging knowledge base  to influence safe and unsafe driving behaviors and decision making processes among teens through informed guidance from parents, health care providers and educators; adult supervision; educational and training programs; social marketing and media messages; and peer interactions?
  4. Does the emerging behavioral and social science knowledge base offer specific applications that would improve the effects of formal interventions through state licensing programs, law enforcement, or insurance practices?
  5. What research priorities need to be addressed to improve the knowledge base about maturity, intentionality, risk communication, decision making, and the processes, settings, and interactions that foster safe and unsafe driving behaviors among adolescents?

The committee will plan a workshop to consider these questions and produce a workshop report that will examine how fundamental knowledge from the behavioral, cognitive, social, and biological sciences could be applied to reduce motor vehicle crashes involving teen drivers and passengers.  Particular attention will be given to informal interventions, including training, supervising and coaching as well as opportunities to incorporate this new research base into formal processes associated with screening, licensing, and regulation. 

The workshop and report will explore the range of risk factors and behaviors associated with motor vehicle crashes involving teen drivers, highlight the relative risk of certain population groups, and identify factors that foster safe and responsible driving behaviors within the different developmental periods of adolescence. 

Additionally, the workshop and report will address behavioral and social strategies that show promise in reducing crash rates and promoting responsible driving practices involving teen drivers and passengers as well as research priorities that can improve the quality of the knowledge base that guides policy, practice, and prevention programs.

For more information

Previous Meetings for this Activity