Blog Posts by Alice Miles

Study: Teen Drivers Typically Make Common Critical Errors Before a Crash

Polk's Government Relations group is constantly monitoring data and vehicle-related legislation and studies. I just came across this study that I thought many blog readers would find interesting -- 

Teaching young drivers to scan the road in the distance and anticipate future events on the road is the best lesson parents can give when teaching the rules of the road. According to a recent study on teen driving statistics, several "critical errors" are often one of the last in a chain of events leading up to a crash. Seventy-five percent of these crashes were due a critical teen driver error, while three common errors accounted for nearly half of all serious crashes. 

Spearheaded by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and State Farm Insurance, researchers found teens are involved in fatal crashes at four times the rate of adults. Among crashes with a teen driver error: 21% occurred due to a lack of scanning that is needed to detect and respond to hazards; 21% occurred due to going too fast for road conditions and 20% occurred due to being distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle. The researchers noted that environmental conditions, such as poor weather, vehicle malfunction, aggressive driving or physical impairments such as drowsy driving were not the main reasons for teenage accidents. This study helps dispel the myth that most teen crashes are due to aggressive driving or thrill-seeking.  

Some experts believe that laws and policies that address distractions by limiting the number of peer passengers and prohibiting cell phone use among new drivers will help reduce crash rates; however they only address part of the problems. Based on the review of the findings, many of the 800 crashes reviewed occurred because teen drivers failed to detect and respond to a hazard in time. Specifically, the act of scanning, which involves observing the surroundings far ahead of the vehicle and side-to-side, not just immediately in front of the hood needs to be focused on during the parent-child driving training. It is a higher-level skill that typically develops over time with experienced drivers. Read the full story.

Posted by Alice Miles, Regional Director, Government Relations, Polk (04.20.2011)

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