In the state of Georgia, new drivers are required to complete a Driver’s
Ed course, 12 months’ use of
an instructional permit, multiple written exams, and a road skills driving
test before being presented with a driver’s license. The myriad
of steps required for license procurement are in place to ensure the utmost
safety of all Georgia drivers.
Unfortunately, these steps do not always produce drivers with the necessary
skills for safe driving. Research shows that the risk of involvement in
an auto accident is highest immediately after licensure. The number one
cause of death for U.S. teens remains automobile accidents. Regardless
of age, new drivers have less experience and skill than those who have
been on the road longer.
A Simulated Driving Assessment was recently released as a method of assessing
driving skills in scenarios that often times lead to accidents. This study
used over ten years of data and 22 common crash methods to compare experienced
drivers to those within three months of licensure. Approximately 43% of
the inexperienced drivers wrecked at least once, while only 29% of the
experienced adult drivers crashed in the simulation.
Skills such as recognizing a hazardous situation, braking at appropriate
times, and anticipating other drivers’ actions are learned through
driving experience. It is difficult to understand what to do in these
situations when you’ve never faced them before. As drivers face
more hazardous situations and log more driving time, their driving skills
will likely increase.
The fact remains, however, that while only 6.4% of motorists on U.S. roadways
range from 15 to 20 years old, 11.4% of traffic fatalities and 14% of
injury-causing crashes are caused by 15-20 year olds. This new data and research is aimed at
lowering those numbers. The hope is that by determining driving ability
deficits in a simulated setting, instructors and new drivers will know
better what to focus on during supervised driving practice.
If you have a young driver in your home, it is important to teach them about
unexpected distractions and events that can occur while behind the wheel. By better preparing
our young drivers for what they will be facing, we can all help to make
Georgia roadways safer for everyone.