The onset of tougher teen driving laws in the United States has led to fewer driving deaths among 16 year old drivers while those 18 years of age have experienced higher rates.

Most states have “graduated” driver license programs for drivers under 16 years of age, which place more restrictions such as requiring more driving experience, driving with an adult and even late-night driving bans.

The study on the matter by Scott Masten of California’s Department of Motor Vehicles was published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study looked at fatal crashes from 1986 to 2007 involving 16 to 19 year olds using government data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to the Associated Press. The first graduate driver’s license program began in 1997.

The research compared states with the toughest laws and those with the weakest laws. It found that the rate of fatal driving deaths was 26 percent less among 16 year olds and was 12 percent higher among 18-year olds in states with more lax laws.

There seemed to be no differences for drivers of ages 17 and 19, according to the report.

The study accounts for differences based on seatbelt laws, minimum speed limit changes and the fact that 18-year old drivers outnumber 16-year-olds.