According to the CDC, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of teen deaths. This is primarily explained by their immaturity and lack of driving experience. Driver education by itself is not enough to prepare the teen for the dangers of driving.
So much of safe driving depends on having a mature and responsible attitude as well as thousands of hours of driving experience. The experienced driver has well-developed reflexes and readily recognizes dangerous driving situations. Teens certainly lack driving experience and because of immaturity, do not treat driving for what it really is: an unforgiving and potentially lethal activity. More specific information on why teens are prone to auto accidents is discussed next.
- Brain development. Studies indicate that until people reach their early twenties, their brain development is incomplete. Specifically, the part of the brain that tempers impulsive behavior with rationality and caution is not fully developed. However, the area of the brain that triggers impulsive behavior is fully intact. This imbalance is responsible for the teen’s tendency for risk taking and their sense of invincibility.
- Inexperience. As mentioned previously, teens have not put in enough driving hours to hone their reflexes and develop good survival instincts for the many road dangers that exist. In addition, their relative lack of education (through school or life experience) makes them under-appreciate the dangers of distraction, or of the relationship between speed and accident mortality or of how it reduces the time they have to react. The ability to critically analyze one’s own actions is an acquired skill which many teens have yet to learn.
- Peer acceptance. Teens are still in the process of forming their concept of self. This leaves them vulnerable to peer pressure which explains why many use their cars as a means to show off their bravado and establish their position within their peer pecking order. This is done through risk taking with their cars. Wearing seat belts is incompatible with these efforts. Peer acceptance is one reason teen overcrowding of cars increases accident risk. A teen driving alone lacks the peer presence that influences his driving. Overcrowding also increases distraction.
If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident and have not been fairly compensated, an auto accident attorney can provide the legal help you need to get the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, contact us.