A new study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) has found that older teen drivers experience more accidents and near misses than younger drivers. The study hypothesizes that this is because older teen drivers are often overconfident and perceive themselves as safer drivers than they really are. What is even more interesting is that parents may be unwittingly allowing this kind of behavior as consequences taper off for older teen drivers. Nearly 70% of teens aged 15 and 16 said they would lose their driving privileges if they were to get into an accident, while only 55% of older teens believe they would experience the same consequences.
Concerning high school seniors specifically, the study found that 75% of seniors feel confident in their driving abilities, but with age comes riskier behaviors. Older teen drivers (71% of whom were high school seniors) are more likely to use a phone while driving than younger teen drivers (55% of sophomores). These types of behaviors occur most often at red lights, stop signs, and while sitting in stop and go traffic, which are all situations in which the risk of having a rear-end accident are higher.
According to Dr. Gene Beresin, the senior advisor on adolescent psychiatry with SADD, “It’s natural for teens to gain confidence behind the wheel as they get older and log more driving hours…However, this age group is more likely to test the boundaries as consequences for bad driving behaviors decrease and their freedoms and responsibilities at home increase, making them feel more like adults. As a result, it is even more important for parents and teens to have conversations about safe driving practices to avoid potentially putting themselves and others at risk on the road.”
Safety Tips for Teen Drivers
In order to keep your teen safe on the road, be sure to go over these five essential safety tips with them.
- Keep your phone off. Multiple studies have indicated that using a cell phone while driving is the equivalent of driving drunk.
- Don’t text. On average, texting causes a loss of focus on the road for 4.6 seconds, which is enough time to drive the length of a full football field. There is a lot that can go wrong in that time and space.
- Drive solo. Having a single teenage passenger in your car can double your risk of causing an accident. Additional teen passengers cause this risk to escalate even more.
- Obey the speed limit. Speeding is a major contributor to fatal teen accidents, especially when they are driving on roads with a lot of traffic or with which they are unfamiliar.
- Practice defensive driving. Always be aware of the traffic ahead, behind, and next to you, and have possible escape routes in mind. Stay at least one car length behind the car in front of you at slower speeds, and maintain a larger buffer zone with faster speeds.
Contact an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident due to someone else’s careless driving, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 404.255.6677. We serve the entire state of Georgia, including the following locations: Roswell, Sandy Springs, and Smyrna.