Study finds driver-errors leading cause of teen collisions

In a recent post, we discussed the importance of addressing drinking and driving consequences with teens as prom and graduation season is upon us and automobile accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers.

Well, a study released this week reveals that it is actually inexperience and distraction that cause the majority of serious teen automobile collisions, rather than alcohol or reckless driving, as one may think.

The study looked at 795 serious crashes that involved 822 teen drivers from around the nation and concluded that 76 percent of the crashes were caused by driving errors. The three most common errors, which caused almost half of the serious accidents, included failure to sufficiently scan the area, driving faster than the road conditions would permit and distraction from something either inside or outside of the vehicle.

The Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia conducted the study in collaboration with State Farm Insurance, and the results were published in the Accident Analysis and Prevention journal on Monday.

A director at the Center said that the results show that teen drivers are not necessarily behaving badly and causing accidents, but instead their driving skills are not as developed as they should be.

A director at the Injury Prevention and Research Center at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago reviewed the findings and said it means there should be more effective training to produce better driving skills in teens, including hazard awareness training.

The study built on research done by the National Safety Council that found driver mistakes accounted for more than 70 percent of teen driving fatalities. The Center that conducted the study said it wanted to continue with the research and pinpoint what the most common mistakes were so that they could be addressed.

As we have said before, we see far too many car accidents injure or prematurely take the lives of the state’s young people. These driving mistakes are preventable, so make sure your teen driver has the skills necessary to be safe on the roads.

Source: HealthDay, “Driver Errors Explain Most Teen Crashes, Experts Say,” Kathleen Doheny, 4/12/2011.