The pulse behind teen car accidents in Alabama and nationwide has recently been examined closely by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in two studies involving young drivers.
Video clips from cameras installed inside the vehicle have determined that teens practice much safer driving behaviors when supervised by an adult than when driving alone the first 30 days after obtaining a license. Findings also suggest that teen drivers are 50 percent more apt to be involved in a crash during the first month of obtaining their unrestricted driver’s license.
We bring this up as Teen Safe Driver Week comes to an end Saturday. Montgomery car accident lawyers know that in 2009, there were nearly three-quarters of a million police-reported crashes involving drivers ages 15-18 nationwide. These crashes killed more than 2,800 people and injured another 280,000.
The Measuring Changes in Teenage Driver Crash Characteristics Study examined a group of North Carolina teens and their crash involvements during the first three years of driving with a license. Researchers found teens were less likely to be involved in the same types of crashes after gaining a year of experience. New drivers were twice as likely to crash in the first 30 days as they were after two years of experience. Almost 60 percent of crashes for new drivers in the first 30 days were caused by inattention, failure to reduce speed and failure to yield.
The Transition to Unsupervised Driving Study recorded almost 6,000 video clips of 38 families with a teen driver. Researchers examined the external and internal driving environments for the first six months of licensed driving. The video captured close calls and other incidents related to traffic, darkness, weather, loud music and other passengers to name a few.
Some teens displayed dangerous behaviors like texting or running red lights during the first few months of unsupervised driving, but the majority of teens maintained good driving habits during this time. Close-call incidents were often due to inexperience or an error in judgment. For example, teens were commonly observed stomping on the brake pedal because they didn’t see that traffic was traveling slowly or stopped in front of them. Interestingly, once a novice driver obtained his or her license, it was observed that adults spent very little time (3 percent) riding with their teens. Peers rode with them 61 percent of the time and siblings accompanied them 36 percent of the time when they had an occupant in the vehicle with them.
It has become clearer recently that parental involvement, even after a teen starts driving independently, can play a vital role in keeping young drivers safe behind the wheel. By staying involved through open communication and actively practicing driving skills with teens, parents can continue to instill safe driving behaviors and give positive reinforcement for smart driving choices well beyond the newlywed phase of obtaining a license.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a Montgomery car accident involving a novice driver, contact the personal injury lawyers at Allred & Allred P.C. for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 334.396.9200 to speak with an experienced car accident attorney today.
More Blog Entries:
Alabama DOT Gears up for National Teen Driver Safety Week to Reduce Risks of Teen Car Accidents in Montgomery and Elsewhere, Alabama Injury Lawyer Blog, September 8, 2011.
Back-to-School Brings Risk of Child Injury in Montgomery, Alabama Injury Lawyer Blog, August 22, 2011.
July and August typically the Deadliest Months for Alabama Car Accidents, Alabama Injury Lawyer Blog, July 28, 2011.