California has one of the toughest graduated driver licensing programs in the country, designed to prevent accidents involving teen drivers. However, a new study that has just been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that while there has been a drop in accidents involving 16 and 17-year-old motorists, there has actually been a spike in the number of fatal traffic accidents involving 18-year-old drivers. The study seems to indicate that most of the accidents that should have involved 16 and 17-year-old motorists, are being postponed to when these drivers turn 18 and have full driving privileges.
According to an analysis of fatal crash accident data, there has been a decline of 1,340 deadly accidents involving 16-year-old drivers after graduated driver’s licensing programs were introduced around the country. However, there has been an increase of more than 1,000 accidents involving 18-year-old motorists. The overall conclusion is that graduated driver’s licensing programs are successful, but the degree of success isn’t so clear.
The researchers believe that the spike in accidents involving 18-year-old drivers could simply be because many drivers prefer to wait until they are 18 to get a driver’s license, because of all the restrictions of a provisional driver’s license.
Los Angeles car accident lawyers take this to mean that inexperienced 18-year-old drivers are taking to the streets with a full driver’s license and not enough experience to be driving unsupervised. Additionally, driver licensing programs may also be too dependent on co-drivers, possibly taking away from some of the experience that a teen driver could have. Too much dependence on a co-driver does not allow the driver to develop important skills, like looking out for pedestrians and obstacles emerging from the side of the road, judging the speed and behavior of other motorists, and other skills.