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What's the Biggest Teen Driving Mistake?

Teen drivers have higher rates of crashes than drivers of any other age group. In 2015, nearly 3,000 teens were involved in fatal vehicle crashes. In many cases, the tragic deaths could have been prevented.

As we have previously highlighted on this San Diego Injury Blog, the impact of teenage drivers extends well beyond teen drivers and their passengers. Nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a crash involving a teen driver are people other than the teen behind the wheel.

While inexperience is often a contributing factor, teen driving crashes are also linked to several high-risk driving behaviors. According to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, speeding is one of the top three mistakes that teen drivers make.

The AAA survey of 142 driving instructors revealed the top three mistakes teens make when learning to drive:

  • Poor Visual Scanning: Driving with tunnel vision and not properly scanning the road for risks or hazards.
  • Speeding: Traveling over posted speed limits or too fast for road conditions.
  • Distraction: Interacting with a cell phone, talking with passengers or looking at other objects in the vehicle.

“We all know that the combination of inexperience and risk taking can be a deadly one,” said Jennifer Ryan, director of State Relations for AAA. “Parents need to understand the common mistakes teens are making and take the time to help their teens learn how to stay safer on the road when they are learning to drive.”

The AAA Foundation also found that parents today are worse at preparing their teens to drive than they were 10 years ago. In addition, many parents fail to set a good example for teen drivers. For instance, 77 percent of drivers aged 35-55 reported talking on a cell phone while driving, compared to 68 percent of teen drivers. Nearly half of teens and drivers aged 35-55 reported driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway (45 percent and 46 percent, respectively).

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a California car accident caused by a teen driver, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. Relying on more than 30 years of legal experience, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of California injury victims.