For many teenagers in San Mateo County, getting their driver’s license and being able to drive independently is something they look forward to for years. Although driving can be an exciting time in a teenager’s life, teenagers are at a high risk for being in or causing an accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than drivers 20 years or older.
Inexperience and Risk
Teenage drivers are inexperienced drivers and are less likely to understand hazardous driving situations and oftentimes do not realize the importance of the safety reasons to drive defensively.
In addition to these risk factors, inexperience is also a leading cause of accidents among teenagers. For teenagers to become proficient and capable drivers, they must be exposed to a variety of different driving experiences before they are able to drive on their own. A study by the University of North Carolina Highway Research Center found that teenagers who had 110 hours of supervised driving experience before they obtained their license were at lesser risk for being involved in a crash.
Although there are many young and inexperienced teenage drivers out on the road, a study conducted by the CDC found that many teenagers are not getting their driver’s license the minute they turn 16. The study analyzed the number of high school seniors that had already obtained their driver’s license. In 1996, approximately 85% of seniors had their license but in 2012, this number dropped to 73%.
Why Teens are Waiting
The reason why many reason teenagers are waiting to get their driver’s licenses is still unclear. However, many researchers suspect that there are several factors why teenagers are choosing to wait. These include:
- The prevalence of the Internet
- Access to social media that allows teens to connect with their friends
- The recent recession and downturn in the economy
- The teen’s parent’s wishes to delay driving
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group claims that this change in teenage driving is due to a shift in the way America as a whole is beginning to travel. This change in the way America travels may be entirely due to the Internet, mobile-technology and the way social media allows individuals to interact.
Although many teenagers are choosing to wait to get their license, there are still many inexperienced teen drivers out on the road. If you were injured in an accident caused by a teenager driver, contact an attorney that specializes in personal injury to determine what your rights are.