For adults who have been driving for decades, signaling a turn or slowing and accelerating just right for a turn become sort of unconscious habits, hopefully. Experience is traffic safety’s best friend. So what does that make inexperienced teen drivers?

Are teen drivers the enemy of safety? That might be a harsh way to put it, but the reality is, according to national statistics, that the rate of teen fatalities in car accidents is alarming. About 3,000 teenagers die in crashes every year in the country. Those motor vehicle accidents likely don’t just represent the teens’ deaths but also the loss and injuries of other unsuspecting victims.

Teen-driving safety experts have weighed in on the traffic safety, teen health issue. The simplest explanation for why they believe teens fail at traffic safety is because they don’t get enough practice before getting their driver’s licenses.

Driving doesn’t take place in the books that teens must study to drive. Driving experience isn’t acquired in a classroom. It happens on the roads of the area where the teens live and will drive. Kids who want Pennsylvania licenses need to get out with their parents or guardians for versatile, thoughtful, thorough on-the-road experience.

Pennsylvania requires that new drivers get at least 65 hours of driving practice. The old saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” But how much practice is enough when it comes to teen drivers? Inexperience and teens’ feelings that they are invincible increase the risk that they will make dangerous decisions on the road such as speeding, texting and driving and more. Would more required practice prevent those reckless driving behaviors?

Accidents happen every day and significantly impact people’s lives. Many of those crashes are preventable, including those involving teen drivers.. Of course it is important to try to protect teens from their own inexperience and bad decision making, but it is also important when trying to teach them about safe driving that their decisions could mean the difference between life and death for others, too. 

Source: USA Today, “Experts say teen drivers need more practice,” Theresa Juva-Brown, Sep. 9, 2013