It’s almost a cliche’ when you hear that teens are bad drivers. Its true that teenage car crashes are 10 times more likely to happen than from those involving middle aged drivers. Recent driving studies show that there are some answers. According to a 800 crash survey conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, almost two-thirds of these teen driver’s wrecks were not from reckless driving like speeding, but to three inexperienced driver mistakes: not scanning the road, distracted driving and misjudging driving conditions.
If proper attention and a stronger focus can be given to teens learning how to drive, perhaps in combination with a persistent public ad campaign on radio, tv and all other media outlets, then maybe we can chip away at the rampant epidemic of young driving fatalities and serious injuries that occur every day on North Carolina’s roads as well as those throughout the US. for that matter
However, the true problem is how do you give a teen the proper perspective and understanding of how important these three lynch pins to safer teen driving are other than letting them get behind the wheel and practice? Since 1995, a majority of states have written much stronger laws when it comes to teen driving; examples include various rules surrounding a graduated learner’s permit to enforce safer driving habits until they get older with more experience under their belt then they get a full license. It’s been proven that the most effective restrictions are delaying learning permits until the age of 16, then requiring 6 months of instructions before granted a driver’s test. North Carolina allows a 14 year to participate in applying for a learner’s permit.
In the big picture, the tougher laws have statistically lowered the incident of teenage fatalities by 30%. However, even though there are fewer deaths, teens have the highest crash risk of any age group and are guilty for causing 4x’s the number of traffic deaths as adults. The extended permitting time period is crucial to allow teenagers to sharpen their skills and practice their driving safety techniques on all of us out there sharing the road too.
The study cited above concluded that 21% of teenage wrecks were a component of not scanning the road properly. This would include not properly calculating the speed of an oncoming car while making a left turn and not paying attention to their mirrors and sides. Another 21% of teen crashes were from misjudging road conditions. The novice teen driver may not be speeding but fails to slow down on a curve, or even in slippery conditions. Poor weather should be an opportunity to assist your teen in practicing ( like in an empty parking lot with a parent).
Finally, 20% was from the most understandable element: distracted driving. It is important to note that the crashes in this category were from another passenger and not necessarily a cell phone! Sleepiness was also a significant factor in teen car crashes. If you know that your son or daughter was up all night, or is sleepy, then offer to drive them to school or get them to ride the bus that day.