Inexperienced Driving Increases Risk of Injury
National Teen Driving Awareness Month encourages drivers young and old to reexamine their driving habits and understand the increased risks that can come with inexperience.
Research shows that teen drivers aged 16-17 are nearly three times as likely to be involved in a fatal collision, despite making up less than 5% of the driving population. To better understand why this is the case, we examined three common reasons why teens are more likely to crash.
Inability to Quickly Identify Hazards
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teen drivers are much more likely to be unable to identify potential hazards and are more likely to make critical errors in dangerous situations that could increase the risk of crashing. Learning to scan ahead for potential hazards and identify them, as well as understanding how to separate hazards as they arise, are essential skills that often take time and experience.
More Likely to Become Distracted
Rates of distracted driving are highest among teens than any other age group. Surveys conducted by the CDC found that 39% of teenagers admit to texting and driving. However, one of the biggest distractions these drivers face is actually other teens.
Several studies have concluded that crash risk increases when more teen passengers are in the car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that teens are 2.5x more likely to engage in reckless driving when at least one teen passenger is present.
More Likely to Speed
NHTSA data from 2019 showed that speeding was a factor in 27% of crashes involving drivers aged 15-18. This is one of the leading causes of crashes among this demographic. Further research from the CDC highlights that male teen drivers are nearly twice as likely to be involved in a speeding-related crash than females.
Driving at excessive speeds can be dangerous for any driver, especially those who have less experience. When this factor is also present during inclement weather conditions, it can lead to serious consequences and severe injury. All drivers should be mindful of going safe speeds whenever behind the wheel.
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