For years there has been well established evidence, that the new 16 year old driver has been one of, if not the most deadly groups of drivers on the road.
Insurance companies, law enforcement, the government and private industry from the driving school industry and educators to corporations have worked very hard together to stem the tide of these young useless deaths and tragedies. Through legislative efforts and education there has been some success but something unexpected happened. Young drivers began to wait to drive. Clearly this contributed to the favorable statistics that show a drop in mortality of this age demographic. However a picture over the past 5 to 10 years has been evolving, and that now shows a shift of the mortality rates from the 16 year olds to the 18 to 19 year olds. In fact they are killing themselves four times more often than previously. A closer look reveals to a great extent what has been happening.
Many families, and 16 and 17 year olds could not afford or chose not to face the high price of insurance, gas, cars and training requirements and have chosen to delay their legal driving status. However once they are close to 18 they begin with no professional training and totally avoid the minor licensing requirements, learning on their own or with family members. Often when they get their license at 18 or there about, they are also away from home and shortly after that in college or living on their own. Thus they have missed the vital professional training they need from a driving school and lose two years of driving under the regulations for minors and parental supervision.
It should come as no surprise to hear and see so many more young adults in the 18 to 20 age group killing and maiming themselves and others.
What can be done. It is a challenge for sure but here are a few thoughts on the matter.
- Start training your young driver as soon as you feel they are mature enough to handle it, but remember if they get licensed early it means more experience under your supervision which is vital.
- Avoiding good professional training to save money is something that will cost more later on for sure.
- Parents are not instructors, in many cases they are average and even mediocre and do not know what a good professional knows, and should not try to replace them, but instead work with the professional to improve the next generation of driver.
- Remember what you don”t know will hurt you! And your child!