Reviews such as the “Graduated Driver Licensing Research Review, 2010 – Present” released in November by the AAA Foundation of Traffic Safety (see link below) provide an excellent summary of recent research for researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers alike. Williams, Tefft and Grabowski succinctly summarise a multitude of research projects. Perhaps most importantly, however, is their identification of gaps in the extant literature. For example, we are yet to fully understand the mechanisms of learning to become a safe independent driver, and to identify the optimal graduated driver licensing (GDL) program structure.
One of the obstacles to understanding and thereby maximising the benefits of interventions such as GDL – and this is not specific to GDL by any means – is the quality and quantity of data collected by the various regulatory authorities. Researchers strive to rigorously interpret this data and to present as complete a picture as possible; however these efforts can be hindered by incomplete, limited, or simply a lack of pertinent data.
Perhaps one of our tasks as Researchers is to advocate for the collection and provision of quality data – that is, data that meets our research needs, and fundamentally that means data that can inform the development and refinement of injury prevention policy, practice, and future research endeavours.