What Are the Most Common Mistakes by Teen Drivers?

Speeding is one of the most common mistakes by teen drivers. Photo courtesy State Farm via Flikr.
Speeding is one of the most common mistakes by teen drivers. Photo courtesy State Farm via Flikr.

Teen drivers were involved in nearly 14,000 fatal crashes over the past five year. Of those, more than 4,200 involved speeding, one of the most common mistakes that teen drivers make.

Last month, AAA released a survey of driving instructors’ observations about teen drivers. The result is a list of the top three dangerous mistakes that teens make behind the wheel. 65% of driving instructors claim that teens taking a road test are less prepared to drive than they were a decade ago. Parents, they say, are largely to blame.

“Nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a crash involving a teen driver are people other than the teen,” said Bill Van Tassel, AAA’s manager of Driver Training Operations. “Involved parents really can help save lives, so it’s important for parents to coach their teens to slow down, as well as to avoid other common mistakes.”

The top three mistakes teens make when learning to drive are:

  • Poor Visual Scanning: Too much focus on hazards coming from a specific or limited area
  • Speeding: Traveling over posted speed limits or too fast for road conditions
  • Distraction: Using a smart phone, talking with passengers, or looking at other objects in the vehicle

Other dangerous behaviors [PDF] common to teen drivers include:

  • Risk taking
  • Not using a seat belt
  • Overconfidence
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

In addition to inadequately preparing teens, parents often set a bad example through their own behaviors, the survey found. A separate survey from the AAA revealed that drivers between the ages of 35 and 55 commonly engaged in dangerous behaviors behind the wheel. For example:

  • 77% of drivers reported talking on a cell phone while driving, compared to 68% of teen drivers
  • 45% of drivers reported driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway (46% of teens say the same).

A speeding ticket will impose 3 or more points on your licenses. It can cost hundreds in fees and fines and increased insurance rates. Teens with a junior or restricted license can see their driving privileges suspended for even minor traffic violations. If you or your teen has been fined for speeding, contact an attorney right away to protect your rights. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced in handling tickets for speeding as well as other driving-related offenses. Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.