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The Wrong Side of the Road - Teenage Drivers

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 09:07 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 55.2 
  • Words: 740
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In recent years, more than 5,900 teenagers died in the United States from motor vehicle crash injuries. Such injuries are by far the leading public health problem for young people 13-19 years old (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety [IIHS], 2004). Drivers are not the only ones at risk. Teenagers who are passengers in others vehicles make up a startling 87% of the fatality statistic. Lack of driving experience, disregard for traffic laws, and quick access to full driving privileges contribute to teen death. To reduce teen driving fatalities, successful completion of driver education classes provided by public and private schools should be mandatory for all teenagers prior to receiving their driving permit.

Most teens start learning to drive by the time they are 15 years old. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were “191.3 million licensed drivers in the United States in 2001. Young drivers, between 15 and 20 years old, accounted for 6.6 percent (12.6 million) of the total” (2002). Teenagers are more likely to be involved in fatal traffic accidents strictly from lack of experience. Likewise, teens do not acknowledge the possibility that their lack of driving experience can cost them their lives. Teenagers have a natural tendency to rebel against the rules set forth by adults. Teens may have the skills to be safe drivers, but their failure to correlate unsafe driving situations with danger, along with their disregard for traffic laws ultimately places them in harms way.

Obeying the traffic laws appear to be difficult for most teenagers. “Beginner drivers are more likely to engage in risky behavior such as speeding, passing inappropriately, tailgating, and driving without using safety belts. At the same time, they are the least able to cope with hazardous situations that arise unexpectedly” (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 1999, p. 18). Again, it is apparent the blatant disregard of traffic laws directly...

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