If you think about it, driving is the last life skill that we impart to our children before they begin to experience young adulthood and freedom.
They are no longer dependent on their parents to get them where they need or want to be. That freedom also includes the ability to “hang out,” which often means they are out driving with friends in their cars.
And it is likely because of the peer pressure to potentially engage in unsafe behavior. Studies indicate that when you add one teenage passenger to a novice driver’s car, those teen drivers are 50 percent more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash. With every additional teen passenger, the risk increases.
This is why DrivingMBA highly recommends that students avoid having passengers in their vehicle for at least one year after licensure. We realize that this can be a difficult expectation. But that one year gives them more opportunity to stay focused on driving. And to continue to develop their driving skills.
The teenage years are some of the most difficult and dangerous times in our children’s lives. It seems like they have much more to deal with than we did growing up. The pressure to fit in is ever increasing.
Studies also indicate that the region of the brain that inhibits risky behavior and controls multitasking ability, judgment and decision-making is not fully formed until age 25 and beyond. Young people consistently take greater risks when their friends are watching.
When teenagers are asked if they have ever felt unsafe while driving with friends, more than 65 percent of them said they had, adding that they were uncomfortable admitting it to the driver, so they often sit quietly and hope they’ll get to their destination. They are afraid of being ridiculed or believe that the driver won’t listen or, worse, may escalate the behavior.
This rate decreases even further when there are other teens in their cars. We ask students why they or their friends don’t use their safety belts and many of them say because they forget, they don’t think they need them, or it isn’t “cool.”
Many states have Graduated Driver License laws (GDL) prohibiting passengers. Or limiting the number of passengers a novice driver can have in their vehicle. The restriction varies from state to state. Those states that have instituted strong GDL’s have seen a decrease in teen driving crashes.
While it isn’t an easy rule to institute, DrivingMBA recommends that parents create their own rule about passengers for the newly licensed. It can be a battle because teens don’t think safety belts are necessary. They also think that a crash it isn’t going to happen to them. The fact is accidents happen to an average of 10 teens every day.
Having to reinforce a rule like “no passengers allowed” is nothing compared to having to deal with life changing injuries or the loss of our kids.
DrivingMBA is a driver-tutoring facility located in Scottsdale and Chandler, Ariz. We utilize a combination of classroom, state-of-the-art simulation labs and on-road instruction to develop safe and responsible drivers. Call 480-948-1648 or visit drivingmba.com today to learn about all we have to offer.