Older Teens More Prone to Car AccidentsSeptember 20, 2017
In most cases, a little confidence can go a long way; however, when you are a teenager, too much confidence can lead to an increased likelihood of becoming involved in a car accident. According to a new study recently featured on CBS Baltimore, older teenagers are more prone to car crashes than newly licensed, younger teen drivers. It seems the more experience a teenage driver accrues, the more likely they are to engage in risky behavior behind the wheel.
The study suggests that newly licensed drivers are cautious and much more likely to follow safety precautions, such as using their seatbelt, limiting friends in their car, and refraining from using a cell phone for any reason. As teens gain experience and their confidence grows, researchers have found that older teens, most notably juniors and seniors in high school, become a bit over confident. This leads teens to start taking higher risks, including distracted driving caused by cell phone usage and rowdy friends, speeding, failure to use their seatbelt, and even driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are the leading cause of fatal injury for teens aged 16-20 years. These drivers also have the highest risk of becoming involved in a motor vehicle accident. Leading neurologists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that the teenage brain is not yet fully developed, which leads teens to act impulsively and not fully consider the risks of their behaviors.
New drivers that have undergone driver safety training and have close parental supervision tend to proceed with caution when they get behind the wheel, but as these teenage drivers gain experience without being involved in a wreck, they begin to have a false sense that they are above the statistics. Parents gain more confidence in their teen’s ability to drive safely and may ease up on supervision and safety reminders. The combination can prove deadly as this newfound freedom and self confidence builds.
While the number of drivers found to be driving under the influence has significantly decreased across the nation over the past few decades, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Association (MVA) reported that nearly four percent of drivers arrested for driving under the influence in 2015 were under 21 years of age. The MVA also reported that 40 percent of drivers surveyed under the age of 20 years admitted to talking on a cell phone, while driving while another 35 percent said they had actively texted on their phone while driving.
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