Teenage drivers are only 5% of all operators of motor vehicles in the US, and yet they represent 20% of those responsible for car accidents.
This factoid accounts for the prevalence of graduated driving laws in many states, which, as Jim Dryden at Washington University in St. Louis tells us, appear to be working.
New research confirms that teens in states with the strongest laws limiting the number of fellow passengers or imposing curfews, among other rules, were less likely to drink and drive, or ride with someone who did.
Based on teen driving data spanning a decade, the results show a positive link between strict laws aimed at young drivers and a reduction in both fatal and non-fatal accidents.
It should be noted that it's not clear how much of the teenage drivers being responsible for accidents can be attributed to the fact that they're teenagers. I say this because those in this demographic are also new and inexperienced drivers and thus more likely to cause accidents.
um... that's the whole point. the graduated laws take into account, not that the teens will get older, but that they will gain more experience as they do so, and thus become more careful, attentive drivers.
Truthinesss, my point was that it's not solely an age issue as many claim it is. It's an issue of driving experience. I've heard many say that we should raise the driving age to fix the problem. Of course, this doesn't even address the problem of inexperienced drivers.
Goebel - It's not simply that they're inexperienced, though that is certainly part of it. It's also because of their age. It's scientifically established that teenage brains don't work the same way adult brains do. It's much harder for them to grasp the consequences of their actions, and they are surging with hormones, which leads to riskier behavior not just behind the wheel but in all areas.
An older person who is a new driver might make a mistake due to inexperience, but they're far less likely to take reckless chances.
That having been said, perhaps there should be an upper age limit on driving as well. Senior citizens with poor reflexes and reaction time can be dangerous on the roads in their own right.
The part that really sucks about all this, is that (speaking as a driving teenager with 4 years experience and no accidents) though only 5% of teens drive, IF a part of the other 95% wants to drive, they're immediately shafted by the system because of their predecessors. Now, I agree. Age and experience are major factors in teens attitudes and therefore driving habits. But I'd also raise another factor: maturity. It's a well known observation that some teenagers mature lightyears ahead of others, be it because of situations or just genetics, it matters not. But these teenagers who are responsible, who have learned that actions have consequences and learned the cost of recklessness, are shunned purely because they're a minority.'The needs of the many before the needs of the few.' You could actually translate this entire argument, substituting the factors of course, to help any other minority. But for now, it's about teen drivers.
Most insurance companies give discounts to teens who graduate a driver's training course. Perhaps states should require that people of all ages take driver's training before they can get a license to drive.