Experts Say Teen Drivers Need More Practice

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Experts Say Teen Drivers Need More Practice

Inexperience behind the wheel, immaturity and not enough parental involvement contribute to a higher risk of deadly vehicle accidents among teenage drivers, experts say.

Some 3,000 teenagers are killed each year in car crashes nationwide, making it the leading cause of death for 13- to 19-year-olds, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Statistics show that teenage drivers, especially young men, are more likely than older age groups to be involved in fatal car collisions.

Of the 3,023 teens killed in car crashes in the U.S. in 2011, roughly two thirds were male, according to the Insurance Institute.

The biggest mistake parents make is underestimating how much practice teens need, said John Ulczycki, a teen-driving expert with the National Safety Council.

"If you have not spent at least 50 hours driving with your kid, your kid is probably not a safe driver," he said.

Parents also tend to emphasize the wrong skills, such as parallel parking.

Instead, parents should focus on making sure teens learn to scan the road ahead for hazards, he said.

Source: USA Today