How can we make teens safer drivers?
Teen drivers generally make their parents a bit nervous. That first time that the teen backs out of the driveway in their family car, the parents can’t believe that it’s happening. They worry about accident risks and have to force themselves to let their teen go — often thinking back to how it was when they first got a license.
As it turns out, the parents’ fear isn’t unfounded. When you look at the odds of getting involved in a deadly wreck, they’re three times higher for teens than for drivers who are 20 years old or older. That’s a striking statistic. You may feel like a 20-year-old isn’t that much older than a teen, but there is a massive change in overall fatality risks.
How can we work to make teens safer? That’s where the trouble continues. One of the top reasons for their high accident risks is their lack of experience. They can’t get that without driving.
This is where the argument for moving the driving age up from 16 falls apart. There are benefits to that, with what we now know about how brain development continues into the 20s, but telling someone that they can’t drive until they’re 20 just means they’ll be 20 without any experience. Is the reason that a 20-year-old now is so much less likely to get into an accident simply the fact that they have been driving for four years?
As you can see, it’s not always easy to eliminate risks on the road. What you can do is take the time to look into your legal options if you get injured.