Study of recidivism rates among drivers administratively sanctioned by the New Jersey motor vehicle commission : final report, December 2009.
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Study of recidivism rates among drivers administratively sanctioned by the New Jersey motor vehicle commission : final report, December 2009.

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      Final report.
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      The purpose of this study was to examine the current state of practice related to driver improvement countermeasures used in the United States and to assess the effectiveness of New Jersey’s negligent driver interventions. As part of the study, the research team conducted a national literature review and a survey of motor vehicle agency policies in other states to document the current state of practice related to driver improvement programs and the current state of knowledge regarding the effectiveness of specific countermeasures. In addition, the research team obtained and analyzed an extensive longitudinal database of driver history records to examine the effectiveness of various countermeasures used in New Jersey to address negligent driver behavior relative to violation and crash recidivism. This study provides important evidence that New Jersey’s program of negligent driver countermeasures is effective at reducing violation and crash recidivism among most negligent driver subgroups in the two-year period after Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) intervention. Of the countermeasures used in New Jersey, the combination of license suspension with one-year probation resulted in the greatest overall reduction in both mean violation and crash rates. New Jersey’s driver re-education classes, which are accompanied by a three-point credit against accumulated demerit points and one-year probation, resulted in the lowest mean violation rate reduction. Point advisory notices, which for experienced drivers are accompanied by a concurrent assessment of negligent driver fees (MVC “insurance surcharges”), appear to be an effective early intervention, producing substantial reductions in both violation and crash recidivism among all driver subgroups except teen drivers who are not assessed negligent driver fees at the time of notice issuance. Several policy recommendations can be derived from this research. First, with regard to teen drivers, consideration should be given to whether or not a “zero-tolerance” policy for motor vehicle violations and at-fault crashes should be applied to teen drivers. It may be appropriate to impose license suspension as an earlier intervention if the reforms already enacted do not result in meaningful change in teen driver safety outcomes. Second, MVC should consider streamlining the suspension program to make it more straightforward and easier to administer. Thirdly, consideration should be given to reviewing and reforming, New Jersey’s driver monitoring system and/or plea bargaining practices to ensure that repeat traffic offenders are not able to use zero-point plea bargaining to avoid corrective actions that improve safety outcomes.
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