Who are the Worst Drivers? Teens or Seniors


March 04, 2017

Two groups of drivers are usually considered the most dangerous on America's roadways, and those groups are teenaged drivers and elderly drivers. Which group is actually the worst in the driving category is up for debate, however the numbers give credence to the fact that teenagers and the elderly are involved in more auto accidents than other groups.

Teenagers Drivers
The grim statistics show show that once a teenager climbs behind the wheel of a car in an attempt to experience his or her first glimpse of freedom, their chance of dying increases significantly. In fact, traffic accidents are responsible for over forty percent of all teenage deaths, making automobiles the primary cause of death for teens in America. Despite nationwide driving programs, making teens wait longer for their license and the implementation of graduated licensing for teens, there has been little to no positive changes in this area in the past decade or so. Teenagers who are new to driving may be much more likely to engage in risky behaviors than other groups of people.

They also simply lack the necessary experience and skills which come with time and exposure to many different driving scenarios. Teenagers are much more likely to drive at unsafe speeds, and to have an entire carload of other teens with them—a huge distraction for even the best driver. Despite the many campaigns against texting and driving, teenagers are still the most likely group to be caught texting while driving or talking on their phones while navigating the roadways. Teens are also more likely, especially when other teens are riding with them, to engage in aggressive or reckless driving habits such as running stop signs or drinking while driving.

In short, teenagers are young and less experienced drivers. The area of the brain which is responsible for controlling impulses and weighing potential consequences doesn't fully mature until a person reaches the age of around 25. Aside from this lack of brain development, the hormones in the brain which regulate mood are quite active in teenagers, making teenagers subject to poor impulse control, not to mention the inability to resist peer pressure. Until a teenager's brain, and impulse controls, are fully developed, they can find it difficult to act in a responsible manner.

Senior Drivers
Seniors are much more experienced drivers, however they may have difficulty with their eyesight, hearing, or reflexes, which can significantly alter their driving habits. While seniors tend to drive well under the posted speed limits, doing so could actually be detrimental in some situations, especially if they are in the fast lane. When a senior is driving particularly slowly and everyone around him is in a hurry to get to work or home, the consequences can be deadly when impatience and anger kick in. Although seniors tend to focus much better than teenagers, many times they are guilty of focusing only on one particular driving issue such as the red light in front of them, or staying under the speed limit. This narrow focus can end up causing accidents as some seniors are not paying equal attention to other drivers around him.

However, less than one percent of drivers over the age of 65 tragically die as the result of a motor vehicle accident. Even though young drivers only make up about six percent of the total licensed driving population, nearly fourteen percent of all drivers involved in a fatal crash are teenagers, and therefore teenagers are statistically the most dangerous group of drivers on the road.

Source:

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db37.pdf

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/10/teenagers-and-older-people-are-the-riskiest-drivers/index.htm

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Category: Auto Accidents

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