Who is the safer driver, the teen or the senior?

In case you hadn't noticed, teens are taking over the amateur sports world. Decades ago, champion swimmers tended to be in their mid- to late-twenties or even their thirties. Today, swimming champs tend to be in their late teens and early twenties. Teens and early twenties are starting to dominate in sports like golf. It's much the same in many sports because teens tend to have better reflexes than older competitors. They also tend to be able expend huge amounts of energy 

So, why don't their advantages translate into better driving? How bad are teen drivers? They are worse than elderly drivers on the whole. Elderly drivers are a group teens like to make fun of, but in general you're far safer in a car driven by 70 year old Uncle Harry than one driven by 17 year old Jason.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the safest drivers are in the age group between 64 and 69 years old. And studies of the data reveal that teenage drivers — especially male teenage drivers — are the most dangerous drivers on the road...

Major risk factors contributing to teenage crashes are those you would expect, including:

  • Lack of experience. Teens are more likely than older drivers to underestimate dangerous situations or not be able to recognize hazardous situations.
  • Poor judgment. Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and allow shorter headways (the distance from the front of one vehicle to the front of the next).
  • Low seat belt usage. Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use. In 2007, 61% of all 15- to 20-year-old passenger vehicle occupants killed in fatal crashes were not wearing seat belts. (source)

And then, I just saw a report on CNN claiming that while teens driving with friends in the car with them are using their cell phones for talking, texting, or watching videos less due, thankfully, to peer pressure. When driving alone, teens still tend to feel that talking, texting, and even watching videos goes along with driving.

I wonder if there is a solution to cut down on the #1 cause of death among teens, shitty driving.

Tags: drivers, elderly, safety, teen, traffic

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