Teenage Driving Study Reveals Why Teens Cause Accidents

Filed under: In The News, Teen Culture, Health & Safety: Teens, Research Reveals: Teens

teen driver picture

Surprise, surprise! Why more teens get into accidents. Credit: Getty Images

Pop quiz: Most automobile accidents involving teenage drivers are the result of:

A. That stupid lamppost that totally, like, shouldn't even be there.
B. Lame old people in their 40s. Why do they even let those people drive?
C. Inexperienced, immature drivers.

If you guessed "C," you're right, according to a new study from the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

It may seem like a no-brainer, but according to US News & World Report, researchers wanted to make sure immaturity and inexperience were really the overriding factors in crashes involving teenagers. Reckless driving, alcohol and cell phone use were other suspects.

Researchers studied some 800 serious crashes involving teenage drivers and analyzed the cause of the accidents. Around 65 percent of them were caused by kids being complete nimrods. Put more charitably, they made critical errors more experienced drivers probably would have avoided.

"This study shows the vast majority of crashes occur not because the teen drivers are behaving badly, but because they have not yet developed the crucial skills they need," Allison Curry, director of epidemiology and biostatistics at the center, tells US News & World Report.

A big mistake young drivers make is not scanning the environment around them for all possible hazards, the study found. They also tend to drive too fast for the road conditions and are easily distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle.

Nationally, according to US News, more than 600,000 teens were injured in vehicle crashes in 2008. More than 4,000 teenagers died. Automobile collisions are a leading cause of death among teens ages 13 to 19, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports.

"The study really points to specific skills that parents can work on with their teens when teaching them how to drive," Curry tells US News. For instance, parents should teach teens how to keep their eyes on the road while still constantly surveying the environment for hazards. They should also emphasize basing speed on what's appropriate for the weather and road conditions, not the posted speed limit.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.