The Effect of a Trauma Center-Based Intervention Program on Recidivism Among Adolescent Driving Offenders

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Motor vehicle crashes remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Adolescents are disproportionately represented among victims. Several risk-reduction programs for teenage driving offenders have consequently been introduced. The efficacy of these interventions on subsequent driving behavior is unknown. We assessed the effectiveness of drive alive (DA), a 10-hour trauma center-based interactive program designed to reduce traffic violations in adolescents.


All subjects court-ordered to attend DA over a 2-year period were tracked. A random selection of teenagers with similar offenses in corresponding time periods served as controls. Driving records of both groups were obtained from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Comparisons were made at 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, and 30 months intervals using Fisher’s exact test with 0.05 for statistical significance.


Of 183 participants, records were available for 176 (128 male, 48 females). There were 233 controls. Six months after DA completion, 50 of 176 (28%) participants had at least one repeat offense versus 97 of 233 (42%) in controls (p = 0.0068). No differences were observed at 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, and 30 months. Similar 6 month reductions were seen in participants referred for moving violations (28.6% vs. 42%, p = 0.0205) and substance abuse-related violations (15.4% vs. 33%, p = 0.0325). Similarly, no difference in new offenses was seen at 12 months and beyond.


Participation in the DA program resulted in a lower rate of traffic violations in teenagers for a period lasting up till at least 6 months when compared with a control group. This effect is also seen in individuals referred for moving violations and alcohol-related offenses. Further research on educational intervention programs in interactive settings such as trauma centers is needed.



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