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Are Crash Rates For Young Drivers Too High?

If your first child is learning how to drive, you might be worried about statistics on car accidents. An estimated 1 in 5 drivers under sixteen will crash within their first year on the road. The implications are that something is going wrong with the learning process for young drivers.

One question that safety advocates ask is, “Are today’s youth not getting enough experience or training before they eagerly claim their driver’s license?” Another question is this: “Is there a safety net that they are reliant on?”

Let’s look at some of key reasons why crash rates for young drivers are so high.

Credit: Pixabay

Credit: Pixabay

Lacking Knowledge of the Road

To get your driving license, most people need to take two tests — one involves theoretical understanding of driving and the other involves practical ability to drive well. Many people notice that the difficulty level of theory and practice is different.

For example, it can be possible to breeze through the theory test and struggle once you’re tested on real life driving skills. It can be difficult to ignore theoretical exams based on multiple choice. In such cases, inexperienced drivers may get key questions wrong and misunderstand simple concepts that they are expected to understand. For example, road signs are key markers that are very useful to almost all motorists. If safety advocates want to reduce first-time crash rates, they may want young drivers to meet more training requirements before they’re legally able to get out on the road.

Underestimation of Risk

It’s true that younger people are more careless and take more risks than the older generation. This is simple because young people have less experience. Out on the road, the excitement is still new and fresh. They’re going to push the limits more than they should. One of the most common causes of accidents on the road is due to DUI. Driving under the influence is dangerous and could get you killed. But how do you know when you’ve had too much? For young drivers, they’ve got no past experience to base it on. That’s why it’s unsurprising that many of those first time crashes come hand in hand with a DUI. DUI attorneys get big business with younger drivers and this shouldn’t come as a shock.
Picking Up Bad Habits

Statistically, 56 percent of young drivers are reliant on their parents to learn. This presents two problems. The first is that young drivers aren’t learning independently. They’re usually driving their parents car and that means they don’t have as much interest in keeping it safe. It’s not their vehicle. Second, young drivers could easily pick up bad habits from older parents who have been out on the road for a long time. It’s likely that if many people who passed the test five years ago had to take it again, a lot of people would fail. Thus bad teaching could be a primary culprit of young drivers crashing.

With all this taken into account, perhaps it’s good that young people are less inclined to learn to drive. Either due to economic issues involved or merely because they don’t want the responsibility of driving a car out on the dangerous roads.

About Marvin Dumont

Marvin Dumont writes about emerging trends, business and technology for various media outlets. Inquiries: marvin.dumont@utexas.edu