Inj Prev 12:i49-i55 doi:10.1136/ip.2006.012872
  • The science of safe driving among adolescents

A conceptual framework for reducing risky teen driving behaviors among minority youth

  1. P Juarez1,3,4,
  2. D G Schlundt2,
  3. I Goldzweig1,3,
  4. N Stinson, Jr1,3
  1. 1National Center for Optimal Health, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN, USA
  2. 2Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA
  3. 3Department of Family and Community Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN, USA
  4. 4Meharry EXPORT Center for Health Disparities, Nashville, TN, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr P D Juarez
 Department of Family and Community Medicine, Meharry Medical College, 1005 DB Todd Boulevard, Nashville, TN 37208, USA; pjuarez{at}
  • Accepted 27 April 2006


Teenage drivers, especially males, have higher rates of motor vehicle crashes and engage in riskier driving behavior than adults. Motor vehicle deaths disproportionately impact youth from poor and minority communities and in many communities there are higher rates of risky behaviors among minority youth. In this paper, the authors review the data on teens, risky driving behaviors, and morbidity and mortality. They identify areas in which known disparities exist, and examine strategies for changing teen driving behavior, identifying what has worked for improving the use of seat belts and for reducing other risky behaviors. A multifaceted, multilevel model based on ecological theory is proposed for understanding how teens make choices about driving behaviors, and to understand the array of factors that can influence these choices. The model is used to create recommendations for comprehensive intervention strategies that can be used in minority communities to reduce disparities in risk behaviors, injury, disability, and death.


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