impulsivenessAdolescents go through many changes, including rapid cognitive, social, emotional, and biological development. As a result they sometimes engage in impulsive behaviors. When combined with a lack of driving experience, impulsiveness is dangerous. Nothing can be done to speed up adolescent development, or prevent the impulsive things that teens sometimes do. Teens often know what they should or shouldn’t do but they don’t yet have the brain development to act accordingly.

It is important to recognize that while some teen crashes are caused by deliberate risk taking, most result from inexperience (as described above). Simply put, teen crashes more often the result from teens being “clueless” rather than “careless.” That is, they simply don’t yet have the necessary experience with driving to avoid crashing. Consequently, is important to reduce the likelihood of injury in a crash.

Ensuring seatbelt use by everyone on every trip is still the best, cheapest way to prevent injuries, but it’s not the only thing that can be done. Another highly effective way to reduce Injuries is by making sure teens drive the safest—usually the newest—vehicle a family owns. These are most likely to have important safety features, especially side and “curtain” airbags, as well as crash avoidance systems.