When it comes to driving everyone wants to get behind the wheel as soon as possible. The minimum age for a driver varies from state to state with the minimum driving age set at 16. That being said certain states allow a learners permit from an even earlier age so the person behind the wheel could even be as young as 14 whilst they are learning.
When it comes to young drivers they are the most likely age group to be involved in a fatal accident. On average 6 teens aged between 16-19 die every day on roads in the US and hundreds more are injured. Whilst this age group represents around 6.5% of the US population they account for around 8.4% of the cost of accidents in the country. The other problem is that younger drivers are much more likely to have younger passengers in the vehicle with them and that the incidents of injury and fatality to those passengers are disproportionately higher when the driver is also a young person.
The AAA has also reported that younger drivers are much more likely to be involved in dangerous driving behaviour. For example sending or typing an email or text. For 19-24-year-olds around 59% have said they have done this compared to around 31% for all other drivers. Younger drivers also have a higher likelihood of speeding and travelling at more than 10mph above the posted speed limit, and this includes in a school zone. Finally, younger drivers are also more likely to drive through a red light when they could have safely stopped. What makes matters worse is that for many younger drivers they find this behaviour ‘acceptable’
All this means that if you are driving in areas that are prone to having a higher number of younger drivers around then you should take extra care. This is particularly true in areas with many high schools or colleges. Extra vigilance on your part can help compensate for some of the more dangerous activities caused by younger drivers. A lot of work is being done to target road safety campaigns towards younger drivers. The main focus is about educating them on certain key areas. These areas include driver inexperience, driving with teens in the car, driving at night, driving and texting, driving whilst drowsy and driving whilst under the influence of alcohol.
Florida attempts to counter the issues with younger drivers by using learners permits. This attempts to counter the lack of experience with younger drivers by providing longer practice periods and limiting driving under certain higher-risk conditions. It also requires that parents take a more active role in educating new drivers. Research has shown that the introduction of this type of licenses plays a huge role in reducing the instance of accidents amongst younger drivers. This means that the roads are kept safer for all road users. It is hoped that this style of the license can be extended throughout all states.