Learn what 3 behaviors are responsible for most teen car accidents
Learning to drive is a rite of passage for American teenagers. Unfortunately, teens are not very good drivers. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, teens have the highest accident rate of any age group—both in terms of accidents per driver and accidents per mile driven. Many of these accidents are quite serious. In fact, motor vehicle accidents are the top cause of death for American teenagers.
So why are teens such poor drivers? Chalk it up to inexperience and immaturity. Teens have only had their drivers licenses for a few years, so they’ve have less opportunity to hone their driving skills than older individuals. Plus, research suggests that teens’ brains process risk and reward differently than adults’ brains. Teens are more likely to downplay risk and focus on reward, which can lead them to make poor decisions.
When it comes to driving, the most common poor decisions that teenagers make are:
Poor Visual Scanning: Teens often fail to properly scan the road for hazards. They might be so focused on keeping their vehicle in their lane that they essentially develop tunnel vision, or they might simply be unaware of what potential hazards to look out for due to inexperience.
Speeding: In a AAA survey, about 45 percent of teens reported going 15 mph over the speed limit on the freeway, and 50 percent reported going 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street. Speeding is of course a risky driving behavior in any context, but it is especially worrisome on the highway. The faster a vehicle is traveling, the less time the driver has to react. If slowed reaction time leads to an accident, the injuries are likely to be worse because of the higher speeds involved.
Distraction: A AAA research project that used dashboard cameras to document teen driver behavior found that 60 percent of teen car accidents are caused by distracted driving. Talking or texting on a cell phone is a significant distraction for teens, but it’s actually not the worst distraction. Having other passengers in the car was the distraction responsible for 15 percent of the accidents, while cell phones were only responsible for 12 percent.
One mistake on a teen’s part could cause an accident resulting in serious injuries to themselves or to others. Considering that drivers age 16 to 19 spend an average of 42 minutes a day driving and travel an average of 26 miles, you may very well encounter dozens of teen drivers on your daily commute. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a teen driver’s mistakes, you are entitled to compensation. To learn more about pursuing a car accident injury claim, contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000.