Young drivers lack experience in driving situations that will occur outside of the mandatory, cookie cutter training they complete during the time of holding their learners driving licenses. The lack of inexperience plays a major role in teen car accident fatalities and injuries. Whitelegg (1987) has shown “The United States alone is in running of about 50,000 deaths a year from teen-driving fatalities. In terms of years of life lost, road traffic accidents are the major exterminator of unexpired years” (p. 161-176.
This evidence is enough to question what steps should be taken, in addition the procedures that already in place, to help prevent such fatalities with young drivers today. Both parents and The Department of Driver Services are proactive by acting to insure new license holders are prepared for the responsibilities that come with driving a vehicle. Parents sign their children up for different types of driving courses where the students are taught the basics of how to operate a vehicle, when to use different signals, and the laws of the road.
The Department of Driver Services enforces the same standards as most driving courses, in addition to a hand written test on driving procedures and requiring new drivers to have a certain amount of hours recorded driving in both daylight and at night. Most states also have laws regarding age limits for driving and talking on the phone and no texting and driving laws for all ages. Though these standards and laws are a positive beginning for any new driver, they simply do not provide the driver with the real world experience he will face while driving alone.
Teen drivers can and will be taught the rules and laws that go with driving; however, teens cannot always be monitored while driving vehicles alone and will not always follow the regulations that have the taught. This requires additional training to encourage new drivers to abide by the laws and rules, but also provides the teens with the experience to safely conduct any type of multi- Real Experience for Real Teen Drivers tasking the driver may engage in; such as answering phone calls, eating, or conversing and listening to the radio all while driving.
In order to reduce the fatalities related to young adult car crashes, young drivers’ experiences with driving a vehicle need to be expanded through practice of driving while preforming other actions. Once a teen turns fifteen and receives their learning licenses, the mandatory standard requirements, driving courses and written test, will be conducted and completed within the first three months of possessing their licenses. In the following 9 months teens will continue to be required to record the numbers of hours drove at night and during the day, with an extension of a multitasking while driving check list.
The addition of the multitasking checklist will allow instructors or the adults in the vehicle, to monitor the multitasking actions of the driver and teach safe alternatives or more safe ways to carry out the task. The multitasking check lists will include many different tasks, including focuses regarding talking and texting on the phone, conversing with peers, and eating while driving. These distractions are the commonly used among people of all ages.
The observer of the driver will have them drive through a fast food restaurant to order meals, and encouraged to order a meal that is easy to handle. Once the meal is order, the driver will be instructed on safer alternatives to handle eating while driving; such as preparing your meal in the parking lot so there less distractions while driving. Interacting with friends is hard to avoid without being rude. It is common to want look at the person speaking while driving or even do hand gestures as you would in a conversation that is not taken place in a vehicle.
The instructor should carry on Real Experience for Real Teen Drivers conversation with the driver, but explain the common gestures are not necessary. The driver will be allowed to take phone calls as the observer offers suggestions on how to answer safely, such as placing the phone on speaker to keep both of your hands free to maneuver the vehicle. If responding to a text message is a must, call the person on speaker phone or wait until you have come to a complete stop. These are all task which would normally not be taught, however as used on a daily basis.
As Bower (2008) explained,” multitasking puts high demands on the brain that reduces activity regions that coordinate driving behavior; driving is the less-ingrained skill and often takes a neutral hit” (p. 7); thus more experience is a must. We must keep encouraging young drivers to abide by the laws, but we are not able to insure all young drivers will. The addition of recording and allowing young drivers to complete other actions during maneuvering as vehicle, will give new licenses holders the more ingrained skill of safely coordinating driving behavior with multitasking.
Once these safer alternatives are taught, it is sure the driving fatalities of young adults in the United States will drop drastically over the following five years. Parents and driver services cannot be sure that teens will follow the laws once they are no longer in the supervision of an adult , although they can feel secure in the fact that teens have been taught how to make safe decisions while multitasking and driving vehicles.
By introducing drivers to the hazards of multitasking and driving, while under adult’s supervision, allows teens to receive guidance on how to safely conduct actions if the driver chooses to not focus all of their attention to driving. Young lives can be saved and fatalities Real Experience for Real Teen Drivers caused by car crashes can be prevented by allowing new drives to gain valuable experience in the driver’s seat of a vehicle.