Would restrictions on young drivers in New York State save lives?
Discussion: For teenagers obtaining a driver’s license is a dream come true. A driver’s license means freedom, fun, and becoming an adult.
For the parents of these teenagers this event brings images of speeding cars and car crashes. When young people (ages 15-19) are in the beginning stages of driving, they are inexperienced and have poor judgment. Young drivers are less responsive in hazardous situations, have difficulty obtaining control of a vehicle, and managing speed control. Due to teenagers lack of experience and over confidence, the chances of young drivers being in an automobile accident are increased by several factors. First, in New York State a 16-year old can apply for a driving permit and make an appointment for a road test on the same day.
It is recommended that a driver has 30 hours of practice, but these are not requirements. If this 16-year old driver takes a five-hour training course, they are given a license that has no restrictions. Second, teens are more likely to take risks when they drive, particularly by speeding and making improper lane changers. Risk taking appears to play a greater role in the crashes of younger drivers than in those of middle-aged or older drivers.
Young people are at the stage in their lives when they not only feel invulnerable to physical injuries or death, but are also struggling for independence from their parents. Third, when we look at studies of motor vehicle crashes we tend to focus on the driver. However, a very big problem involves the passengers in the young drivers vehicle. These passengers help contribute to the overall problem by distracting the driver directly or indirectly.
Instead of the driver focusing on his or her driving, they can become involved in a conversation with the other passengers. There are many other ways in which a driver can be distracted, some of these distractions are: changing the controls inside the vehicle, making calls on a cell phone, changing the cd or tape cassette, and reading directions. While such distractions are bad for drivers of any age or experience level, these distractions can be magnified due to a young drivers lack of experience. This study will investigate whether or not the fatality rate of drivers in the age group 15-20 year olds have the highest fatality rate amongst all drivers. If this age group is significantly higher then the other age groups, the study will recommend that during the first year of driving, new drivers should have restrictions. These restrictions would include: a nighttime curfew, and restrictions on the number and age of passengers.
This type of program would limit the opportunities for immature behavior, such as partying in the car or cruising. With this type of plan in place, it would allow teens the accessibility and mobility of having a drivers license, but at the same time it gives these new drivers the opportunity to get the much needed experience. Teenagers not only experience higher crash rates than other age groups there crashers are different. Teenage drivers are more likely to be at fault in their crashes. Teen crashes and violations are more likely to involve speeding. Teens are also more likely than drivers of other ages to be in single-vehicle fatal crashes.