Fall is approaching quickly. High school students are getting ready to start the new school year, and members of the senior class are ready to hurry up and graduate. Seniors feel like they are on top of the world and are ready to move on and take on adulthood, but this care-free attitude can lead to more reckless driving behavior.

The Study

teen driver, accidentLiberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) teamed up for a survey on teen driving and found that older teens are typically riskier drivers. The study shows that 75 percent of seniors feel overconfident in their driving abilities. Perhaps because they feel overconfident, seniors were much more likely to experience accidents and near misses (57 percent) compared to sophomores (34 percent).

The Driving Habits

Smartphones, in particular, have become a huge part of the lives of those in younger generations. Although there are many benefits to them, as well as to other advanced technologies, teens are starting to use their smartphones more when driving.

In the same study, 67 percent of seniors, 58 percent of juniors and 49 percent of sophomores admitted to sometimes using smartphone apps when driving. Although the study says the use of cell phones and technology is mostly limited to those times at a red light, stop sign or stop-and-go traffic, it’s still an unsafe habit.

In addition to using technology, teens have admitted to other dangerous driving habits that further prove how, the older they get, the riskier their driving habits become:

  • Changing music via phone or app – Sophomores: 26 percent, juniors: 32 percent and seniors: 40 percent
  • Having 3 or more passengers – Sophomores: 31 percent, juniors 35 percent and seniors 47 percent
  • Speeding – Sophomores: 18 percent, juniors: 23 percent and seniors: 35 percent
  • Driving drowsy – Sophomores: 13 percent, juniors: 15 percent and seniors: 26 percent

Driving habits can be picked up from peers, or even parents. The National Safety Council (NSC) has done research on teen driving as well, and promotes the idea that parents should continue to teach their kids driver safety—even after they get their license.

Bottom Line

Older doesn’t necessarily mean wiser when it comes to driving habits. It’s important to be comfortable behind the wheel, but getting too comfortable and being overconfident can put you at a greater risk of an accident. This is something teen drivers can fall victim to, so it’s even more important to teach them good driving habits.

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