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New Study: Teen Drivers Ignore Basic Safety Rules

Distracted driving is not the only dangerous driving habit among young drivers. A new study reveals that many teens fail to follow basic safety rules, such as wearing a seat belt and obeying the speed limit.

The new study, which was commissioned by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), assessed the driving attitudes and behaviors of 1,622 eleventh and twelfth graders from across the country. It found that many teens engage in aggressive driving behaviors and neglect to follow the basic rules of the road.

While a majority of teens (81 percent) think aggressive driving is dangerous, more than one-third (36 percent) acknowledge that they have an aggressive driving style, which includes driving above the speed limit and cutting off other drivers. Even more concerning, 31 percent of teens admit that they have retaliated or experienced road rage when provoked by another driver. All of these unsafe behaviors put everyone on the road at risk for a serious crash.

The survey’s findings also suggest teens are not only disregarding the driving basics, but are also failing to follow the law. For instance, one in five (18 percent) teens admit to not wearing a seat belt. Also alarming, while the majority (89 percent) of teens may consider themselves “safe drivers,” 71 percent still admit to speeding.

“What may seem insignificant to teen drivers, like having friends in the car or driving a few miles over the speed limit, can have a major impact on their safety and endanger others on the road,” said Stephen Gray Wallace senior advisor for policy, research and education at SADD. “We challenge parents and teens alike to revisit the importance of following the basic safety rules of the road. Ignoring driving fundamentals is simply not worth the risk.”

According to the survey, many parents are in the dark about their teens’ hazardous driving habits and their risk of a serious car accident. Only 16 percent believe that their teens drive aggressively and 13 percent think their teens have retaliated when provoked. While the majority of teens fail to follow the speed limit, only 38 percent of parents actually believe that their teens are speeders.

Given the findings of the latest teen driving survey, parents may want to talk with their teens about the fundamentals of safe driving. For tips, please check out our prior posts.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash involving a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation. We encourage you to contact a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.