National Teen Driver Safety Week (Day 1) – The need for improved driver education for novice drivers
In 2007 the US Congress established National Teen Driver Safety Week to take place during the third week of October. This year we will work to bring you information and resources that you can use to help reduce the risk to yourself and the younger novice drivers in your family or your social groups.
Today, we’ll review the summary or facts presented by the CDC concerning the risks to young drivers, and a call for improved driver education standards in the US. As is usually the case, our children benefit greatly from the educated and responsible involvement and active participation from their parents.
From the CDC:
Motor vehicle-related injuries are the biggest health threat to teenagers in the United States, accounting for two of five deaths among teens ages 16 to 19 years. The crash risk is highest for drivers 16 years of age due to their immaturity and limited driving experience.
Most traditional driver education provides classroom training about the rules of the road and a few hours of behind-the-wheel training. Research suggests that this approach is not effective in reducing the crash risk among newly-licensed teen drivers. Driver education programs may be improved by teaching psychomotor, perceptual, and cognitive skills that are critical for safe driving, and by addressing inexperience, risky behaviors, and other age-related factors that increase the crash risk among young drivers. However, more research into these factors is needed before they can be addressed effectively.
Inexperience increases the crash risk for new drivers of all ages. However, younger novice drivers crash at higher rates than older novice drivers. These higher crash rates may be due in part to developmental factors such as peer influence, poor perception of risk, and high emotionality. Research about such developmental characteristics could increase our understanding about why young drivers have higher crash rates and could help to improve driver education programs and licensing policies.
A growing body of research indicates that close parental management of teen drivers can lead to less risky driving behavior, fewer traffic tickets, and fewer crashes. However, many parents tend to be less involved than they could be. A recent study indicates that parents can be motivated to increase restrictions on their newly-licensed teens, at least during the critical first few months of licensure. A model intervention, the Checkpoint Program, led to increased parental limits on teenage driving at licensure and three months after licensure.
Teen Driver Resources for today:
- Allstate Insurance Company — offers a website called Allstate Teen Driver that helps parents understand the need to get involved with their children’s driving, and gives advice on how parents can help their teen drivers understand the importance of driver safety.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — offers a collection of fact sheets, research, and activities that will help you understand the scope of real risks to young novice drivers, and links to other resources you can use to talk with your teen drivers about their safety.
- Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association — offers a collection of national teen driver statistics, with links to Colorado and Utah specific break downs of similar statistics.
Please feel free to post links to other teen driver safety resources you have found to be helpful in the comments section of this post.