Who do you think drives safer – a 16 year-old driver or an 18-year-old driver? A new study of teen driving may surprise you.
According to a study commissioned by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions, older teen drivers are overconfident and perceive themselves as safer drivers despite experiencing more accidents and near misses (57 percent of seniors) than their younger peers (34 percent of sophomores).
According to CBS News, Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Gene Beresin oversaw the teen driving study that found high school seniors are significantly more likely than younger teens to use their phone while driving.
The study also reveals that 75 percent of seniors feel confident in their driving abilities, but with age and experience, comes riskier behaviors such as engaging with phones behind the wheel. Older teen drivers (71 percent of seniors) are more likely to use a phone while driving than younger teen drivers (55 percent of sophomores). This happens most often at a red light or stop sign and while in stop and go traffic.
The teen driving study showed that nearly 32 percent of seniors admitted using snapchat behind the wheel — compared 19 percent of sophomores. Also, seniors were also more likely than freshman drivers to use music apps (48 percent vs. 34 percent) and GPS (48 percent vs. 41 percent) than freshman drivers.
According to the teen driving study, 67 percent of high school seniors admit to using apps at least sometimes while driving compared to 49 percent of sophomores and 58 percent of juniors. Apps are not the only risky business. The study showed that 47% of high school seniors have three of more passengers in the car whereas 31% of sophomores do. 35% of seniors admit to speeding whereas only 18% of sophomores do. Lastly, 25% of high school seniors admit to driving while drowsy when only 13% of high school sophomores do.
Professor Beresin concluded that “It may be that the tendency for teenagers is that you start cautious and you get more and more experience and if they feel more confident and more powerful, they may jump to more risky behavior.” Beresin adds, “However, this age group is more likely to test the boundaries as consequences for bad driving behaviors decrease and their freedoms and responsibilities at home increase, making them feel more like adults. As a result, it is even more important for parents and teens to have conversations about safe driving practices to avoid potentially putting themselves and others at risk on the road.”
As school starts up soon, talk to your teen driver about the findings of this teen driving study. If you don’t have a teen driver, watch out for those teen drivers who may not pay attention to their parents or the rules of the road.
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