The Issues

Motor-vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers. A combination of inexperience and the natural impulsiveness of the adolescent years contribute to their increased risk of being involved in a crash.


Inexperience: It takes several years to become a good driver. Consequently teens haven’t yet had the time to learn the many things they need to know. The chart to the right shows how crash rates among novice teen drivers decline with increasing experience. This is a typical “learning curve.” This same pattern holds for learning any new activity that involves thinking and doing.


Impulsiveness: The ability to control impulses is not fully developed until the mid-twenties. As a result teens sometimes do things while driving that increase the risk of having a crash. Although education can help teens know what they should do, sometimes they’re not able to translate this knowledge into action.