This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a nonprofit research and educational organization has released a new study that provides insight into the driving behavior of teenagers.
This study shows that teen drivers are about 50 percent more likely to crash in the first month of unsupervised driving then after a full year of experience driving. Teens are also nearly twice as likely to crash in their first month of unsupervised driving then after two years of driving experience. The results of this study show that there are a few specific abilities that parents and driving teachers need to do a better job of helping teens develop before they begin driving on their own.
Research analyzed the crashes of new drivers and found there were three common mistakes that these teens committed: failure to reduce speed, inattention, and failure to yield. These three behaviors accounted for 57 percent of all the crashes in which teens were at least partially responsible. Researchers also looked at specific types of crashes and found that in most cases the likelihood of these accidents decreased as the drivers gained more experience. Most crashes seemed to results not from a lack of understanding, but from failure to master certain driving skills.
This study is just one that affirms AAA’s long-standing efforts to help parents prepare for their teens for independent driving by practicing under a wide range of progressively more challenging conditions. Among the steps parents can take to improve teen’s safety as they start driving on their own AAA suggests:
- Practice, practice, practice. Once teens have their actual license it is still imperative that parents continue to practice with their teens to ensure that basic skills are mastered.
- Keep passengers out. Teen driver’s crash risks multiply with teenage passengers in the vehicle.
- Limit night driving. Allow new teen drivers to drive at night only if truly necessary or to practice with a parent.
- Keep setting rules. Parents should continue to set and enforce rules above and beyond the state laws. In addition to night and passenger limits, set rules for inclement weather, highways, cities, and or other driving conditions in which a teen has not gained enough experience.
For more information about the teen driving visit AAAFoundation.org.
Teen Driving Programs | Teen Safety Week 2010