Preventing Teen Motor Crashes: Contributions from the Behavioral and Social Sciences - Workshop Report


Over the past decade, significant improvements have occurred in the rate of teen motor vehicle crashes, but teen drivers and passengers remain at substantial risk. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young people in the United States and constitute one of our most critical public health problems.

The workshop and subsequent summary report, Preventing Teen Motor Crashes: Contributions from the Behavioral and Social Sciences, sponsored by the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, the CDC Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and State Farm Insurance Companies, was organized to explore how knowledge from the behavioral and social sciences could contribute to the development of new prevention strategies to reduce the burden of injury and death from teen motor vehicle crashes.

Workshop speakers identified several key areas where new opportunities exist to apply research knowledge to driving practices, especially in areas such as coaching and novice driving practices, parental supervision, error detection, peer interactions, adolescent decision making, and the development of incentives to foster safe driving skills. The social context of teen driving that influences cognitive development and the acquisition of driving expertise was also identified as an important sphere that has received little attention in prevention strategies.

This project was a collaboration of the NRC-IOM Board on Children, Youth, and Families and the Transportation Research Board.