According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, the cause of teenage crashes is not the skill with which they can drive so much as it is the judgement they exercise while driving, something largely gained from experience.
Are Teen Driver’s Education Programs Enough?
Despite efforts to educate kids through driver’s education, there is little evidence that it produces better judgement resulting in safer driving. In fact, the American Academy Pediatrics notes that studies consistently reveal no safety effect associated with driver education so supplementing the program is key.
Graduated Drivers License Programs Work
When enforced, graduated driver licensing does seem to help keep teen drivers safe. GDL requires more supervised driving with a parent or licensed adult, limiting the number of friends that can be in a teen’s car, and prohibits night time operation, all of which reduce the number of car crash fatalities among the 16 and 17 year olds.
However, it is important to note that despite GDL, crashes in the first months of independent driving are dramatically higher before leveling off, and car accidents increase again for teens 18 years and older who are not subject to the GDL requirements.
Driving Experience Counts Most
Although drivers education and the limitations GDL’s impose play a role in helping teens to prepare for driving independently, studies suggest that what teens really need is more experience driving to become better drivers. Parents can help their teens by providing more supervised driving experience in a variety of venues, logging as many hours as they can so teens can not only benefit from more driving experience but also input from an experienced driver.
Modeling Safe Driving By Limiting Distractions
Parents should also set a good example by modeling safe driving behaviors long before it is their child’s turn to get behind the wheel. The use of electronics while driving should be avoided as research reveals that car accidents have increased with the use of electronics and teens have the highest rate of distraction-related fatal crashes of all other age groups.
Do Not Inadvertently Encourage Impaired Driving
Also remember kids are far more likely to drive impaired if they observe a parent driving after drinking even in small amounts or engaging in risky behaviors such as speeding or reckless driving in general. Drunk driving contributes to many fatalities and injuries among teens so it is important to model appropriate behaviors when it comes to getting home safely.
Contact Our Des Moines Car Accident Lawyers for Help
If you or a family member has been injured in an Iowa car accident, contact the personal injury law offices of Marc Humphrey for immediate assistance today at 515-331-3510.