Teen Drivers More Dangerous Than the Elderly

We don't know how you're going to manage the conversation, but it might be worth telling your teenager that the reason you're considering an online driver education to get them up to speed with driving safely is their grandparents. Or, more specifically the fact that the elderly are on average more safe and less distracted than their youngest relatives.

It may be startling for some, but the data backs it up. Until you get to the age of 80, when many senior citizens in the United States consider driving less or even moving to a retirement community, the number of drivers at fault in fatal accidents is highest among those under 20 years of age.

In fact, if you divvy up the age groups so that it's 15-20 and 70+, the numbers are more striking. Drivers aged 15-20 average 69 fatal crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers; the elderly are at one-third that number.

It seems that in many cases, experience plays a major factor. Parents may have a vague sense that providing driver education to their teens can help improve the likelihood that they will be safe motorists, but the causes of the accidents point to the need for increased education.

Common causes linked to teen's incidents include drowsiness, substance intake, erratic behavior and fast driving and even over-correction. Limiting these choices is a key part of most online driver ed curricula and they are lessons that many drivers learn as they continue to be on the road, how to budget their time and limit factors that affect them.

Trying to manage the cabin of a car is another aspect of driving that teenagers often learn through experience. When they fail to do so, it can also lead to issues when it comes to being distracted while using cell phones or failure to maintain proper lane placement. Those are aspects that a good driving school can help explain. Add that to the three in five drivers who weren't wearing seat belts at the time of impact, and it's clear that good advice can lead to increased safety in vehicles.

Doing so now also offers a protection against a fact that is steadily changing how the U.S. will look. America is graying, and the number of seniors over age 65 is expected to double or even triple in the next couple of decades. Since the rates of accidents increased by four times for drivers over age 80, the number of elderly drivers who could potentially cause a crash is worth keeping in mind for younger drivers.

Teens may still get a bad rap for their driving habits, and in states where graduated license programs are in place the number of accidents and citations have dropped. When you look more carefully at the data, it becomes clear that it's not just age, but experience that plays a huge factor in determining whether or not a driver will be involved in a crash. Parents looking for the best way to prepare their teenage driver-to-be will want to give them the tools to eliminate the most common mistakes leading to crashes.