Proposals to Improve the Safety Record of Teenage Drivers

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Teenage drivers are unfortunately involved in more vehicle accidents than any other age group.  The legal age of driving in Canada is 16 years old.  Most teenagers lack significant experience for driving.  However, new driver legislation has been introduced to limit the amount of accidents that teenagers have been involved in, and also provides a mentorship program for new drivers.

  • Research shows that one possible solution lies in graduated driver licensing programs. These programs typically provide a learners license, an intermediary license, a provisional license and only then a full license. Drivers can progress to the next stage only once they have been assessed by a driving instructor. During the early stages, they are restricted to driving within certain time limits and on particular roads.  

  • One of the primary causes of teenage accidents is driving while intoxicated. With the exception of awareness campaigns at schools and colleges, and encouragement by parents to organize sober drivers to drive to and from parties, there is very little new that can be said here.

  • Teenage drivers tend to panic and over-correct in emergency situations. This can easily be addressed by driving instructors who can teach them, both in theory and in practice, what to do in busy traffic, while hydroplaning and driving in inclement weather. 

  • Teenagers often drive too fast for conditions. This may in part be due to inexperience, but can also stem from the tendency of teenagers to do most things faster than adults. Tougher legislation that has but put into place for teenagers will likely rectify this problem, as those under the graduating licensing programs suffer stricter penalties (and can lose their license entirely for reckless driving).

  • Teenagers nowadays are multitasking more than ever, and lack of attention to the roadways can sometimes hinder their driving ability.  Legislation and distracted driver laws are now in place to deter such behavior.  

  • Insurance for young drivers is still at an all-time high and this can deter many parents from allowing their children to have their own vehicles.  Parents can have their child listed as an additional driver on their insurance.  If a teenager is involved in an accident, it is likely they will have high premiums for insurance for many years.  This may encourage teenagers to drive with a higher degree of caution.

Teenage drivers, although inexperienced, may be indeed safer drivers than ever before due to new legislation and programs for young drivers.