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Graduated Licensing System Evaluation, Interim Report '98

Boase and Tasca, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Safety Policy Branch, Ontario, July 31, 1998, pp. 21-23

Since Ontario's graduated driver licensing system was introduced in 1994, crash rates for novice drivers have dropped. The overall collision rate per 10,000 licensed drivers for 1995 novice drivers is 31% lower than the rate observed for 1993, while only a 4% drop was observed for the general driving population over the same period. A separate analysis of collision rates amongst drivers in Level Two of the system, who are allowed to drive unaccompanied, indicates that they also have lower crash rates. The figures seem to indicate that the drop in crash rates is not a postponement due to the restrictions of Level One, but due to safer driving habits. While completion of formal driver education can reduce the Level One restrictions from one year to eight months, the study found that those who had completed formal DE programs had increased risk of crashing (by about 45%). These results are preliminary and run counter to established research findings indicating that DE has no significant effect on crash rates. These findings will be the subject of further, more detailed study. Meanwhile, the system seems to be very cost effective in reducing the direct and indirect costs of crashes.