Promoting transportation safety in adolescence: The drivingly randomized controlled trial

Jessica H Mirman, Catherine McDonald, Leann Long, Carol A. Ford, Thandwa Mdluli, Drew Weiss, Jackson Felkins, Nicole Wilson, Bradley MacDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: The impact of young drivers’ motor vehicle crashes (MVC) is substantial, with young drivers constituting only 14% of the US population, but contributing to 30% of all fatal and nonfatal injuries due to MVCs and 35% ($25 billion) of the all medical and lost productivity costs. The current best-practice policy approach, Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) programs, are effective primarily by delaying licensure and restricting crash opportunity. There is a critical need for interventions that target families to complement GDL. Consequently, we will determine if a comprehensive parent-teen intervention, the Drivingly Program, reduces teens’ risk for a police-reported MVC in the first 12 months of licensure. Drivingly is based on strong preliminary data and targets multiple risk and protective factors by delivering intervention content to teens, and their parents, at the learner and early independent licensing phases. Methods: Eligible participants are aged 16-17.33 years of age, have a learner’s permit in Pennsylvania, have practiced no more than 10 h, and have at least one parent/caregiver supervising. Participants are recruited from the general community and through the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Recruitment Enhancement Core. Teen-parent dyads are randomized 1:1 to Drivingly or usual practice control group. Drivingly participants receive access to an online curriculum which has 16 lessons for parents and 13 for teens and an online logbook; website usage is tracked. Parents receive two, brief, psychoeducational sessions with a trained health coach and teens receive an on-road driving intervention and feedback session after 4.5 months in the study and access to DriverZed, the AAA Foundation’s online hazard training program. Teens complete surveys at baseline, 3 months post-baseline, at licensure, 3months post-licensure, 6 months post-licensure, and 12 months post-licensure. Parents complete surveys at baseline, 3 months post-baseline, and at teen licensure. The primary end-point is police-reported MVCs within the first 12 months of licensure; crash data are provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Discussion: Most evaluations of teen driver safety programs have significant methodological limitations including lack of random assignment, insufficient statistical power, and reliance on self-reported MVCs instead of police reports. Results will identify pragmatic and sustainable solutions for MVC prevention in adolescence. Trial Registration: # NCT03639753.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2020
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • teen drivers
  • motor vehicle crashes
  • teen driver safety
  • injury prevention
  • driver training


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