Teen Drivers Take More Chances as Senior Year Begins

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Teen Drivers Take More Chances as Senior Year Begins

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on HealthDay.

Older teens are more likely to do risky things while driving and have a higher rate of crashes and near misses than their younger classmates, a new survey finds.

Researchers surveyed 2,800 high school students across the United States. While 3 out of 4 seniors considered themselves safe drivers, they were more likely than younger teens to engage in dangerous or distracted driving -- especially using cellphones while behind the wheel, the survey found.

"Older teens are still inexperienced drivers -- even if they feel otherwise -- as they only have one to two years of real-world practice under their belts," said Mike Sample, lead driving safety expert and technical consultant at Liberty Mutual Insurance, a study sponsor.

"That's why it is important to continue to emphasize the effects and potential consequences of phone use while driving to this age group," he added in a news release from Liberty Mutual and study co-sponsor Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).

Seniors were more likely to use a phone while driving than sophomores, 71 percent vs. 55 percent, the survey showed. This occurs most often at a red light or stop sign and in stop- and-go traffic.

In addition, 67 percent of seniors admitted using apps while driving, compared with 58 percent of juniors and 49 percent of sophomores.

Other dangerous behaviors also became more common as teen drivers got older, including:

  • Changing music via phone or app: Seniors, 40 percent; juniors, 32 percent; sophomores, 26 percent.
  • Speeding: Seniors, 35 percent; juniors, 23 percent; sophomores, 18 percent.
  • Driving when drowsy: Seniors, 26 percent; juniors, 15 percent; sophomores, 13 percent.

Seniors were also more likely to have three or more passengers in the car.

The study also found that they had more crashes and near misses (57 percent) than sophomores (34 percent).

Source: HealthDay