While young drivers continue to be the riskiest population to operate a vehicle, studies show hope is on the horizon.
Over the last two decades, car crashes and deaths involving young drivers under 21 have significantly dropped by 38% and 45%, respectively. These improved fatality rates are primarily due to increased educational and training efforts, also known as graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws.
The Colorado Department of Transportation’s public awareness programs have dramatically decreased deadly accidents by almost half within the last 20 years. Unfortunately, despite the passage of GDL legislation, teen drivers still make hazardous decisions on the road.
Learning about the risk factors can help them and their parents address issues to prevent catastrophic consequences.
Why are young drivers prone to fatal crashes?
Research sheds light on the essential elements that can explain why young drivers are predisposed to suffer tragic collisions.
- Immaturity: Still developing a rational sense to make sound judgment calls
- Inexperience: Insufficient practice or exposure and familiarity with different scenarios
- Lack of knowledge: Limited understanding of traffic rules, signs and signals, and the corresponding consequences due to noncompliance
- Lack of skills: Inability to detect danger, react on time or handle emergencies
- Lack of access to a safe environment: Unavailability of appropriate areas to learn how to be a good driver
Aside from these crucial points, teen drivers also become more susceptible to errors when their passengers are their peers. Having teen passengers can increase the likelihood of young drivers making unsafe choices, such as speeding, not wearing a seat belt and consuming alcohol or drugs.
Why is adult supervision critical?
Parents are the first adults that young drivers look up to when it comes to driving. However, circumstances are unique for every family. In some cases, parents are unfit to set a good example for their children to prevent tragedies. Thus, when faced with an accident, a reputable legal team can help assert the young driver’s rights and recover compensation to protect the family from further damage.