How Gender Affects Teen Driving Habits

How Gender Affects Teen Driving Habits | Pintas & Mullins Law Firm

Parents of high school drivers are well aware of the heightened risk younger people pose on the roads, and recent research details what precise habits are most associated with crash risks. The studies outline the usual suspects: eating, texting, dialing a phone, but one of the most dangerous distractions was merely having another teen in the vehicle. Car accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm take a closer look at these studies and what influences teen driving.

According to the CDC, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for American teens; drivers aged 16 to 19 are three times more likely than drivers 20 and older to be killed in a car accident. Federal data also suggests that males are much more likely to be involved in serious crashes – nearly two times that of females, in fact.

Researchers and experts assert that teen drivers in the presence of their peers failed to consider the long-term consequences of their driving habits, such as engaging in texting and other distractions. Somewhat surprisingly, researchers found large difference between the habits of male and female young drivers.

One study that specifically analyzed these differences was recently published in the Journal of Adolescent Health and was conducted by researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. They looked at data from nearly 5,500 crashes involving drivers between the ages of 16 and 18, who were either driving alone or with a passenger who was between 14 and 20 years old.

Among their findings, Philadelphia researchers concluded that there were five types of actions that often caused the crashes:

• Aggressive acts, such as speeding or tailgating 
• Inattention, focusing on internal thoughts rather than the road 
• Illegal maneuvers, like disobeying standard traffic laws 
• “Interior non-driving activity,” referring to things like texting, eating, and talking to other passengers 
• Exterior factors, or being distracted by something outside the vehicle 
For girls, the most common habit associated with crashes was “interior non-driving activity” while driving with a boy in the vehicle. Female driving with males in the car were also more likely to perform illegal maneuvers and be inattentive. Girls were far less likely to drive illegally when there was another female passenger. It is also worth noting that female drivers were not likely to drive aggressively regardless of other passengers. 

Overall, female drivers were more likely to crash due to internal distractions, while male drivers were more likely to crash from external distractions and risky driving. Poor decision making among teenagers is scientifically proven, as the frontal lobes have not yet wired fully to the rest of the brain. Teens are also more sensitive to short-term rewards, so they are prone to seeking out new and ‘dangerous’ sensations. At risk of stating the obvious, teens were decidedly most distracted when driving with a member of the opposite sex.

Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have been advocating on behalf of those seriously injured in crashes for nearly three decades. Even if you or your child was at-fault for the accident, we can help you get compensation for any medical bills or time away from work. Contact our firm immediately for a free, confidential, no-obligation legal consultation.