Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Elaine Spaulding


The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate whether there is a statistical relationship between accident-related factors including use of drugs or alcohol, speeding, driver distractions, gender, driver drowsiness, practice of dysfunctional driving maneuvers, and use of occupant protection devices, and fatal vehicle crashes among young teen drivers. Secondary archival data from 84 North Carolina crashes occurring between 2009 and 2013 and involving young teen drivers between the ages of 15 and 18 years were obtained from North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles Form 349 crash reports. These data were analyzed using chi-square tests for goodness-of-fit, chi-square tests for independence, and z-tests for proportions. The study found statistically significant associations between gender (p <.019), speeding (p < .001), practice of dysfunctional driving maneuvers (p < .001), and non-use of occupant protection devices (p < .001) and teen crash fatalities. The implications of this study for positive social change include recommendations to the State of North Carolina to enact legislative action related to driver education for new drivers, with the anticipated result of reducing traffic fatalities when a teenage driver is involved in an accident. In order to counteract deadly dysfunctional driving maneuvers on the part of young teen drivers, it was recommended that State driver education curricula be expanded to include exposure to more real world, on-the-road supervised driving experience conducted under more varied conditions and that high school driver education facilities be upgraded to include skid pads for student driving practice. Further research relating to the supervised implementation and verification of the requirement of the 50 hours of adult-supervised driving experience for Graduated Driver Licensure was also recommended.