Young Drivers & Their Parents

Young Drivers Need Good Training And Caring, Involved Parents ; Keeping New Drivers Safe on the Road Can’t Be Entirely a Matter of Strict Laws.

by Portland Press Herald
July 20, 2007

What makes a driver safe?

While the typical young driver has the edge on most older ones in faster reflexes and sharper vision and hearing, there’s one thing people who have been driving for years have in spades that can’t be easily acquired by new drivers:

That’s right: experience.

And the lack of it can often get teenaged drivers in trouble.

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Maine teens, it seems, are more likely to be involved in harm on the road than most. A national survey of accident rates in 2005 found that Maine had the second-highest percentage of deaths from car accidents that year in the nation. That year, 37 of 169 traffic deaths involved 16- to 20-year-old drivers. Only Delaware had a higher percentage.

The problem doesn’t seem to be the state’s laws. In fact, Maine has one of the strictest laws governing young drivers in the nation.

The law says drivers under 18 may not be on the road between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m., which is the period when most fatal accidents occur. In addition, young drivers cannot carry passengers except for family members during their first six months behind the wheel.

Beginning this fall, drivers under 18 may not use cell phones or other electronic devices in a moving car.

One factor may be that Maine is a rural state with little public transportation, so young people need to drive more to get around here than, say, teens in New York City.

Experts say the best safety device after a good driver training course is a concerned and involved parent.

Having adults track the times and reasons that teens are on the road is the best way for those young drivers to encounter the limits that will help them gain the experience they need to become safer drivers.

2007 Portland Press Herald. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved


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