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Inexperience, Not Recklessness, Causes Most Teen Car Crashes

When most people think of teen drivers involved in vehicular crashes, they assume that alcohol or reckless driving are involved. However, a new study that examined 795 serious crashes involving 822 teen drivers found that the vast majority of these car accidents were caused by the teenagers' inexperience behind the wheel.

The study was recently published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, and was conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Prevention, in conjunction with State Farm Insurance Companies.

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for thirteen to nineteen-year-olds. In 2008, Miami car accident lawyers note that more than 600,000 teens were in vehicle crashes, and more than 4000 of them died in those crashes.

What the researchers concluded was that 76% of the crashes involving teens were due to errors by the teenagers that were not attributable to reckless behavior. The three biggest errors that the researchers identified were:

  1. Driving while distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle
  2. Driving too fast for road conditions, even if they were within the speed limit
  3. Failing to scan the entire driving environment

The good news is that parents can teach their teenage children how to improve their driving skills to eliminate these common errors. They can help new drivers learn to look beyond the car in front of them and be aware of traffic on the left and right, for example. Good habits can eliminate distractions in the vehicle, and awareness of traffic conditions can make teen drivers better judges of safe speed than simply following the speed limit regardless of the circumstances.

Source: U.S. News & World Report "Driver Errors Explain Most Teen Crashes, Experts Say; Inexperience, not reckless driving, causes most collisions, study finds" 4/12/2011

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