Teen Drivers Pose the Highest Risk of Being Involved in a Fatal Car Accident


October 21, 2013

Most people recognize that teen drivers pose the highest risk of being involved in a fatal car accident.  Traffic safety experts routinely identify a slew of factors that contribute to this increased risk, such as inexperience behind the wheel, experimentation with alcohol and tendency to engage in high risk activity like texting and driving.  These factors provide part of the rationale that states including Georgia have adopted Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) programs.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “studies of GDL programs comparing rates before and after GDL implementation in individual states have reported reduction in fatal crash rates of novice drivers that ranged from 11 percent to 32 percent.”

However, the results of a new study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that the effectiveness of the programs could soon wane because many teens are waiting to seek their driver’s license.  The researchers found that only 44 percent of teens obtain their driver’s license within a year of becoming eligible and only 54 percent obtain their license by their 18th birthday.  The results of the study represent a marked decline from twenty years ago when two in three teens obtained their driver’s license by the time they reached the age of 18.  The fact that the majority of teens are procrastinating in seeking their driver’s license means that many newly licensed drivers are missing the opportunity to learn to drive subject to the safeguards of GDL programs according to the authors of the study. 

Although the decline in teens seeking their driver’s license at a younger age results in fewer teen drivers participating in GDL programs, the researchers point out that this is not the reason teens procrastinate in obtaining a license.  According to the researchers, teens are waiting longer to get their license for a number of reasons that include:

44 percent – No available vehicle

39 percent – No need for a vehicle

36 percent – Fuel costs

36 percent – Expense of driving

35 percent – Simply did not get to it

“For a range of reasons, young adults increasingly are getting licensed without the benefits of parental supervision, extensive practice and gaining experience under less risky conditions that are the hallmark of a safety-focused licensing system,” said a spokesman for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.  The researchers suggest that it may be appropriate to modify GDL programs so that teens that wait until they are over 18 to seek a license still benefit from the supervision and practice provided by the incremental process of granting driving privileges under the auspices of a GDL program.

If you or someone close to you is injured in a collision involving a teen driver, our Atlanta auto wreck attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.  No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

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