It has long been known that teen drivers are more likely to be involved in car accidents than older drivers. It is also a fact that teen drivers are more likely to suffer serious injuries or death when involved in these accidents. In the past, this has been blamed on their lack of driving experience, but a recent study points to another potential cause.
The Study Points to the Underdeveloped Brain as the Cause of the Increase of Accidents Teens Are Involved In
The brain is about 80% developed when a person reaches adolescence. Unfortunately, the parts of the brain that are not yet developed are parts of the brain that can bring particular danger – the part of the brain that is responsible for both emotional maturity and motor skills. These brain signals are the very last to reach the frontal lobe of the brain. In short, teens do not possess the brain capacity for safe driving.
The National Institute of Mental Health first released the research on this issue. It showed that it was not inexperienced but rather emotional immaturity that may be the cause of many accidents involving teen drivers.
The study also found that one of the most important parts of brain development for driving is the spread of white matter. While this type of matter helps the brain cells communicate more quickly with each other, during the first and second stages of brain development – both of which occur before adulthood – there are too many brain cells produced without the required mechanisms to process said cells.
The Human Brain Isn’t Fully Developed Until 25 Year of Age – at Least
The study shows that a person’s brain is not fully developed until at least 25 if not 30 years of age. The sections that are still growing are those that are involved in motor skills, aversion to risks, and emotional maturity – all of which can affect safety while driving. This may explain why teens are more likely to drive over the speed limit, ignore traffic signs, and race with other vehicles.
Does This Mean the Driving Age Should Be Raised to 30?
No one is suggesting that, but some ideas are being floated around. First, some believe that the driving age should be raised to 18. People who do not agree with this idea point to the burden it would put on parents.
A more popular option is to change to a graduated licensing process in which a person would gradually gain access to higher tiers of driving so that they could adequately learn how to drive without a parent before being released on the roads.
If you or your teen driver is injured in an accident, we hope you will contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 for a free and confidential personal injury consultation.