Teen Car Accident Study Tracks Hazards of New Drivers

Like drivers in every other state, South Carolina motorists face their share of hazards that lead to car, truck and motorcycle accidents. From drunk drivers to dangerous roadways and defective tires or brakes, there are often several reasons why an accident occurred and people suffered injuries.

One common factor from coast to coast: inexperienced drivers pose more than their share of risks to themselves and other motorists and passengers as they learn to drive in various types of weather and traffic. A recent study published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety looked at nearly a decade of new-driver data from neighboring North Carolina, but includes information that can reduce car accidents in South Carolina and elsewhere.

The study reviewed eight years of crash data and focused on teen accidents involving drivers who had received a license that allowed unsupervised driving at age 16 or 17. Car wrecks included in the study had to have occurred within three years of obtaining that license.

The results showed that the vast majority of accidents involved two vehicles traveling on roads with posted speed limits below highway speeds. The types of crashes that were shown to decline most rapidly as new drivers gained experience involved:

  • Making left turns or entering roadways from driveways or parking lots
  • The young person's vehicle overturning
  • Running off the right shoulder of the road
  • Hitting a utility pole, tree or legally parked vehicle
  • Failing to yield
  • Overcorrecting with the steering wheel
  • Making an improper turn

On the other hand, rear-end crashes and tailgating accidents were found to decline more slowly than the overall crash rate.

Teen drivers have the highest car crash rates of any demographic group. The authors of the study, all affiliated with the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, concluded that dramatic improvement in driving performance occurs over the three-year interval after a young person is first authorized to drive.

They emphasized the importance of the study as a tool for helping parents make their teenage children become aware of the worst teen-driving performance issues. Regardless of the reasons behind a car accident that causes injuries, a South Carolina auto wreck lawyer can help injury victims explore their options for paying expensive medical bills and other legal damages.