Are Teens Driving Safely? Study Suggests They May Not Be
If it seems to you that many new, teenage motorists don't know what they're doing behind the wheel and engage in potentially dangerous behavior, the results of a new study suggest you are correct.
"About 40 percent of our newly-licensed teens had one or more simulated crashes during out simulated driving assessment," said Catherine McDonald, an assistant professor of nursing in the Family and Community Health Department at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, which is affiliated with the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia,
According to McDonald, these new teen drivers were often practicing unsafe driving habits.
"(They) were speeding or had very short following distance, they failed to scan for hazards at intersections and they had inadequate responses to hazards that occurred with them in the simulated driving assessment," she said.
McDonald said a lower percentage of teens actually get involved in accidents on real roads, but the findings suggest parents should be working more with their teen drivers.
"They need instruction and practice with maintaining their speed, working on a safe following distance and how to scan, what to do at intersections," she said.
McDonald said the study points up the fact that in certain high risk situations, teens are more prone to crash, so parents and driving instructors should definitely focus on helping teens become better drivers.
The study used a 35-minute Simulated Driving Assessment that incorporated 22 variations of the most common ways teen drivers crash.