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 |  Oct 17 2011, 12:45 PM

Here are some sobering study results that may shock parents – teen drivers are most likely to cause a car accident within their first month of unsupervised driving.

The study, conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, found that teenage drivers are 50 percent more likely to get into a car crash in their first month of driving than after a year of driving by themselves. It also goes on to show that these drivers are twice as likely to get into an accident during the first month than after two years of driving experience.

To compile this information, AAA mounted cameras in the cars of 38 teenage drivers in North Carolina. Footage followed teen drivers as they learned to drive with their parents as well as their first six months of driving solo.

From the data collected, 57 percent of the accidents that were caused in the first month of driving happened because teens were driving too fast, weren’t paying attention, or failed to yield to other cars. Researchers also found that in the first few months of driving, teens got into quite a few left-hand turn crashes while trying to navigate across traffic, which suggests that young drivers could use more practice with it comes to certain driving maneuvers.

After driving with their parents, the footage showed that the teen drivers’ driving behavior changed drastically. While they had their learner’s permits, teens stuck to the same routes, but once they got their full licences, these drivers started taking new routes and displaying bad driving habits such as texting, running red lights, or socializing with passengers.

[Source: Motor Trend]


 |  Oct 14 2010, 2:27 PM

A new study says that parents are even more important then ever when it comes to teaching their teens to drive. The report goes on to state that parents are not giving their teenagers enough experience behind the wheel before they get their license, especially in challenging situations – this includes driving in bad weather, at night, on highways or in heavy traffic.

In the study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly half of parents reported that after the yearlong learner’s stage, there was at least one condition that they were not comfortable letting their teenagers to drive in on their own. Even though this was reported to be the case, more than one-third of parents still allowed their teens to get licenses within a month of being eligible.

In the U.S., teenagers have the highest crash rate of any age group. It has been found that the most dangerous time is when they drive on their own during the first few years after being licensed.

“The goal is to get people to realize how serious a situation it is,” said Peter Kissinger, president and chief executive of the foundation, a non-profit research and educational organization.

The study, which was conducted by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, was based on analysis of driving patterns of 50 families in North Carolina. During this study, cameras were installed in their vehicles for four months right after the teenagers obtained their learner permits. During the yearlong period, parents were interviewed 10 times.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there had been little scientific research on what parents actually do while supervising their teen’s driving. Thanks to this study, they found that most common form of parental instruction (in 54 percent of the clips), had to do with the handling the vehicle (“you need to slow down”). These instructions were often stressful and emotionally charged. Instructions such as visual scanning or anticipating the actions of other driver, was found in just 5 percent of clips.

[Source: The New York Times]