Researchers have long known that teen drivers are more likely to get into an accident during their first year on the road than at any other time in their life. However, although studies have been done on just how many teens are involved in serious accidents at the beginning of their driving careers, we have not known much about teen close calls and near accidents until today.
According to a new survey published by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) found that most teen drivers have been involved in a “close call” and half of teen drivers had experienced more than one close call during their previous year of driving. The survey, which examined 2,000 students in almost 30 high schools, also found that one in three teens said that at the time of their close call they were driving above the speed limit. One in five said that they were either distracted at the time of the near-accident or talking with passengers.
While the study is surprising to most parents, many experts aren’t as shocked by the results. Generally, teens are four times more likely to be involved in a serious car accident than adult drivers and more than half of teens experience at least a minor accident during their first two years on the road. However, safety advocates are surprised that the teens that did experience near-miss car accidents didn’t change their behavior – or didn’t change it for long. Even students who said they paid more attention or stopped speeding after the accident admitted that their good driving habits often faded away.
What can parents do to prevent their own teen drivers from becoming injured in a car accident while behind the wheel? Safety experts can’t stress the basics enough: make sure your child wears a seat belt, make sure your child knows the dangers of speeding, and make sure your child never uses a mobile device while driving.