It continues to be an unfortunate fact that car accidents remain the leading cause of teenage deaths in our country. It is all too often that we are struck by the sad news that a young adult from our own area has been injured or even killed in an automobile accident.
Our car accident attorneys put this problem in perspective like this: after six years in Iraq, approximately 4,300 wrongful deaths have happened to our military. In that same time frame, there have been approximately 30,000 teenage wrongful deaths (ages 16 to 20) from fatal car accidents on U.S. roads.
In an effort to help with the problem, psychology is taking a closer look at what driving requires and how teenage brains work. The two primary factors causing teenage driver car accidents:
- Lack of experience.
- How teen brains process information.
Research is showing that the human brain develops well into the early 20s, and one of the last parts of the human brain to fully mature is the prefrontal cortex. Because the brain’s prefrontal cortex is responsible for judgment, empathy and self-control, teen drivers’ ability to think problems through and control their responses are impaired. Therefore, teen drivers are at higher risk for making poor decisions than normal drivers.
Based upon these recent research findings, the following tips might be helpful for parents of young drivers:
1. Do not count on teen driver’s education to improve car accident safety.
There continues to be no clear correlation between the two. Of course, the kids also know after awhile which courses are easiest, least demanding and let out early.
2. Do not expect adult-supervised driving time to make that much of a difference.
This may be because teenage drivers act differently with an adult in the car, and the adults tend to “dumb down” by restricting the teen to quieter roads and safer driving conditions.
Studies show that only by driving alone do teenagers gain the experience and the skills needed to become better independent drivers. Ideally, once the teen can drive independently, he or she would be encouraged to practice driving under graduated or increasingly difficult situations.
Make sure that your teen driver really understands the rules of the road and the “social contract” that driving involves. Try to take time to go over how a car works to avoid any car accident myths developed from playing video games and watching movies. For example, a 2-ton hunk of metal doesn’t really fly through the air very well and cars can’t pass underneath tractor trailers. Both of those actions may end with a wrongful death in an auto accident.
Review the prohibitions about driving a car while under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or other substances about a thousand times and each time your young driver goes out. Prohibiting the use of cell-phones, eating while driving, and transporting passengers, can also help avoid distracted driver car accidents by teen drivers.
Our car accident lawyers come across plenty of car accidents involving teenagers, and in many cases, the driver or even the passengers do not make it out alive. We do not think that the solution is to ban teenagers from driving, but we do know something has to change. That change begins with the parents of teenage drivers.
Would it not be easier to follow the steps and rules administered above, or life just go on after another needless fatal teenage driver car accident?
Call us now at 1-858-551-2090 or click here for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney after you get into a car accident and find out how we can help you. We speak English and Spanish, and we look forward to providing advice for your case. No fee if no recovery.