NICHD researchers are particularly interested in reducing the risk of injury and death associated with vehicle crashes. For that reason, researchers aim to identify risk factors for crashes, examine driving behavior and safety, and evaluate state driver education and licensing programs. Most NICHD research that focuses on driving is conducted by researchers in the Division of Epidemiology Statistics and Prevention Research (DESPR) or supported by the Population Dynamics Branch. NICHD research has contributed substantially to a reduction in teenage driver fatalities and injuries by, for example, demonstrating some of the underlying causes of risk for drivers, such as teenage passengers. In addition, the research has helped reduce crashes involving teenage drivers by evaluating graduated driver licensing programs around the country and by showing the importance of parental supervision on teen drivers.
NICHD-supported researchers also study the root causes of male/female differences in driving fatalities and injuries to understand why women’s crash rates are now approaching men's rates.