If you think teaching your teen to drive is a harrowing experience, wait until you hand them the keys for their first solo drive. Then their first night out. Has your blood pressure gone up yet?
First of all, you’re not alone. Most parents go through this anxiety, and rightfully so. Sadly, a study by the National Institutes of Health shows that teenage drivers who have had their license for three months or less are eight times more likely to be involved in a collision or near miss. Strangely enough, that stat is compared to the three previous months with the learner’s permit—it must be the supervision in the car that makes them less likely to take risks.
In a study led by the Journal of Adolescent Health, teens are also four times more likely to engage in risky behaviors, including speeding, sudden stops and hard turns during this three-month period after obtaining their license.
What’s the solution? Don’t cut the figurative apron strings immediately after they get their license, no matter what push back they give you. Bruce Simons-Morton, Ed.D., M.P.H., senior investigator at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and one of the authors of the study, recommends a more gradual weaning of adult supervision while teens are driving in those first three months.
They study is quite comprehensive, and one of the first to follow the same individuals over time, from the beginning of the driver’s ed training through the first year of driving independently; they also collect data continuously via software and cameras installed in the subjects’ vehicles.
Those with male teens beware—while there was no gender difference with risk-taking behavior during the learner’s stage, the male risky driving rate was higher after the teens entered the independent driving stage. While female teen drivers did engage in some risky behavior, it decreased over time, unlike the male teen drivers.
This study is a great use of new data sources that can help drivers be safer and even provide more accurate information on their driving skills to provide a better policy cost. Are you about to add a teen to your policy? Now is a good time to call and review your auto insurance policy—and your homeowners or renters policies while you’re at it! Call BMR Insurance Agency on 714-838-1911 or click here to email.