Factors Affecting Teen’s Risks for Car Accidents in Chicago and Elsewhere

Teen drivers face some of the highest risks for car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere. There are a number of reasons for these risks. Two recent studies, released in the Journal of Adolescent Health, discuss two of the top factors — passengers and parents. Both of the studies produced results that support graduated driver’s licensing (GDL) programs and parental involvement.Our Chicago teen car accident lawyers know that teens can get a little bit ahead of themselves when they get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Often, teen drivers underestimate the dangers that they face on our roadways. The recent studies concluded that drivers typically have a better awareness of the risks they face when parents are actively involved in their driving habits, know where they are and set ground rules. The second study determined that other teenage passengers can increase your teen driver’s risks for an accident as they’re more likely to make illegal and aggressive driving maneuvers while other young passengers are present.

Both of the studies were led by researchers with the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The first study examined 198 teen drivers who were ages 15 to 17. Researchers were exploring the teens’ desire to take risks, their perceptions of dangers and the amount of parental monitoring. In this study, researchers concluded teens who were more erratic at the wheel and those who failed to recognize dangers were typically the product of less-involved parents.

“The good news is that most of the teens in the study reported being aware of the risks of driving dangerously,” said lead author Jessica Mirman, Ph.D.

The second study examined accident reports from more than 675 drivers aged 16 to 18. In these accidents, it was revealed that male and female drivers react differently to passenger distractions. While one was not safer than the other, they were reacting in different way. Boy drivers who were in the car with passengers were most likely to speed, drive aggressively and perform illegal maneuvers just before an accident. Young female drivers who were driving with passengers were more likely to fidget with makeup, look at the other passengers, text message and eat while behind the wheel.

The study revealed that about 20 percent of young female drivers and about 25 percent of young male drivers were distracted just seconds before a serious accident.

The bottom line is there are factors that can decrease our young driver’s risks for accidents. A graduated driver’s licensing (GDL) program is the first of these factors. Young drivers should gain experience behind the wheel through a number of restrictive stages. They should be made to take on difficult tasks behind the wheel one phase at a time.

The second of the factors was parent involvement. When a parent keeps tabs on their child’s whereabouts and their driving habits, teens are more likely to recognize roadway dangers and alter their driving habits to accommodate these dangers.

If you or your teenage driver has been injured in a car accident, the personal injury lawyers and wrongful death attorneys at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss the rights of accident victims. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

More Blog Entries:

New Year’s Resolutions: Reducing Risks of Car Accidents in Chicago, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, January 4, 2012

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