Modesto Teen Car Accidents Often Happen During First 30 Days of Driving Unsupervised

October 20, 2011

According to recent studies, young drivers seem to be most at risk for a car accident in Modesto or elsewhere in California shortly after they obtain a license. In fact, a recent study conducted by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that teen drivers are 50 percent more likely to be involved in a crash in the first 30 days of unsupervised driving than after the first 12 months of driving alone in a vehicle.
Stockton car accident attorneys know that teens probably tend to be on their best behavior while practicing to drive with an adult, but safe practices shouldn't stop once they start driving solo.

The AAA study involved teens being monitored by an in-vehicle camera while they were learning to drive with their parents. The camera continued to monitor the same young drivers six months after obtaining a license while no longer being required to drive with an adult present in the vehicle. Researchers found that teens tend to drive in favorable driving conditions on familiar roads during most of the time spent with an adult in the learner's permit phase. Once a full license was obtained, teenage behavior behind the wheel became more risky as illustrated in video clips. Teens were caught on tape doing things like running red lights, texting, or fooling around with another passenger while driving.

Researchers have found the three most common causes of teen accidents in the first month of being licensed are failure to yield to traffic, driver distraction and neglecting to reduce speed when needed. They found that 57 percent of accidents were attributed to these three mistakes commonly made by new drivers.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles has a particular interest in reducing teen car crashes because young drivers between the ages of 15-20 were involved in crashes killing almost 600 people in 2008. Texas was the only other state to have more deaths caused by a teen driver that year than California.

Statistics have shown that for every 100 drivers, 16-year-olds are cited for a violation almost twice as much as drivers of all ages; 31.0 compared to 17.3 respectively. It has been found that 17- and 18-year-olds have a high rate of violations with 36.6 and 38.9 citations per 100 drivers, respectively.

Over the years, California DOT has found several risk factors that have attributed to the high number of crashes involving teen drivers. These include:

-Failing to detect hazards quick enough. Identifying hazardous stimuli that affect the driving environment and learning how to cope are skills that are acquired with time and experience.

-Underestimating the threat of a hazard and overestimating the ability to handle the situation.

-Becoming overconfident in your ability to drive which leads to riskier and more dangerous behaviors.

-Failing to wear a seat belt.

-Inability to eliminate distractions caused by other passengers riding in the vehicle, especially peer passengers.

-Night driving is difficult enough but adding drowsiness or the influence of alcohol to nighttime driving puts teens at severe risk of a crash.

Parents are advised to continue making safe driving a hot topic in family discussions with your teen. Frequent discussions about safe behaviors can let your teen know the importance of driving safely and help them to make better choices as they gain experience in driving alone.

The Law Offices of Robert J. Anaya helps accident victims and their families involved in teen car accidents in Modesto, Stockton or the surrounding areas. If you wish to speak with an experienced attorney for a free consultation about your claim, call 1-209-522-7500.

More Blog Entries:

Modesto Motorists Pledge to Drive Distraction-Free in Order to Reduce Risk of Car Accidents in Modesto, Modesto Injury Lawyer Blog, October 5, 2011.

Yosemite Teen Car Accident Kills Marin Academy Student, Modesto Injury Lawyer Blog, August 1, 2011.

Summer Brings 100 Deadliest Days for Teen Car Accidents in Modesto, Modesto Injury Lawyer Blog, June 22, 2011.