Teens are riskier drivers after trading their learner permit for a driver’s license

Image courtesy of Cory Bouthillette/Unsplash

Many actions and behaviors fall into the risky driving category. This can include speeding, texting while driving, hitting the brakes suddenly, and clipping lanes. Those who take part in risky driving habits are much more likely to get into a car accident.

A study was conducted over a period of two years to observe the behavior of teens as they’re driving with a learner’s permit compared to when they acquired a driver’s license. Cameras and sensors were installed into the cars of 90 teens who were around 16 years old.

The study found that the risk of teens with a learner’s permit to get into a car accident is similar to the risk of adults who have much more driving experience. However, teens are much more likely to engage in risky driving after trading their learner’s permit for a driver’s license. The study reports that these teens are at six-fold increased risk for getting into a car accident or a near car accident in their first year of being licensed compared to adults.

The main factor behind the increased risk of car accidents in newly licensed teens is due to the lack of parental presence in the vehicle. Teens with learner’s permit are required by law to have an adult in the car at all times when driving.

When an adult is in the car with the teen, the teen is much more likely to stay focused. They’ll avoid engaging in risky behaviors like texting on the phone or getting distracted, lest they get reprimanded. Adults can also provide guidance on how to drive safely and properly, in addition to providing directions.

In the months after teens get their driver’s license, they are at the highest risk for getting into a car accident. This may be due to the sudden absence of an adult in the car, who will no longer provide driving support. Teens also tend to drive with their friends, who may serve as a big distraction.

For additional information, please visit Reuters.

Questions: Have you ever been in a vehicle accident? How have your driving habits changed from your teenage years compared to now?

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