A recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found teen drivers are 50 percent more likely to crash during their first month of driving than they are after amassing a year of solo driving experience. They are almost twice as likely to crash during their first month as they are once they have two years of experience thus ensuring they suffer from high auto insurance quotes.
Almost 60 percent of new driver crashes involving teens in their first month of licensed driving were caused by inattention, failure to reduce speed or failure to yield to oncoming traffic. Some errors, such as difficulties with left-hand turns, were common in the first month or two of driving alone but quickly declined in frequency, which researchers attributed to teens gaining needed experience.
Other crashes, according to one AAA Foundation representative, might be caused by a lack of skill mastery. Refocusing teaching and training efforts accordingly might make it possible to cut down on those sorts of accidents.
Steps Toward Safety
To prepare teens for driving alone and reduce accident rates, the AAA Foundation recommends several measures parents can take during the learning phase. For example, joint practice sessions can be continued after a teen first earns his or her license.
Another step is to ensure driving practice is not restricted to ideal conditions only, so that teen drivers are prepared for snow, rain, fog and ice when they encounter them rather than being taken by surprise and making dangerous mistakes as a result. Rules limiting nighttime driving, driving in poor weather conditions and otherwise regulating time behind the wheel may be appropriate.
If successful, such steps could improve safety, reduce accidents and lower the expensive car insurance quotes currently faced by young drivers as a result of their inexperience and greater tendency to be involved in collisions.
A Second Study
Another study placed cameras to monitor teens while they were learning to drive and during their first 6 months of licensed, unsupervised driving. Data indicated driving lessons were generally in ideal conditions, and teens displayed an increase in dangerous driving behaviors once on their own.
While not universal, there were more frequent instances of running red lights and engaging in distractions such as texting or interacting with passengers. The pair of studies was conducted by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, based on information collected from the beginning of 2001 to the end of 2008.