Teenage boys are the most dangerous drivers on the road. Right?
Well, they still have higher accident rates than teenage girls. But in a new survey, the girls say they speed more often, and text while driving at higher rates than the boys.
Teenage crashes cost U.S. $34 billion annually
The youth-research firm TRU Research conducted the study a year ago among more than 1,000 teens who drive on behalf of insurer Allstate.
The girls were more likely to drive 10 mph or more over the speed limit (48 percent versus 36 percent of the boys). Having been passed at 80-plus mph by numerous teen girls in Honda Civics, we believe that.
And 16 percent of the girls described their driving as "aggressive" (up from 9 percent in 2006) against 13 percent of boys (down from 20 percent).
Not surprisingly, 65 percent of teens are confident in their own driving skills--but just 23 percent say that "most teens" are good drivers, and 77 percent have felt unsafe while being driven by others.
And in a troubling note for parents, teens report they wear their seat belts (92 versus 88 percent) and signal while changing lanes (84 versus 76 percent) more often than their parents.
The changes in behavior among teen girls have led insurers to reduce the difference in rates between male and female teens. But insurers say teen boys still have higher accident rates than do the girls.
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That fact could lead to one of two conclusions: Either girls are safer drivers (meaning they get into fewer accidents) despite their higher rates of unsafe behavior ... or some survey respondents (the boys, perhaps?) weren't entirely truthful.
The data show that teens who drive die in accidents at much higher rates than do drivers between 25 and 70. After 70, the death rate among older drivers rises steeply. Teens get all the blame, though.
What can you do if you're a worried parent? The best solution: Don't give your teen a car at all. Get him or her to share with friends. Turns out it's statistically much safer--despite the complaining.
Teens who had their own cars or were primary drivers—25 percent, according to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)—were involved in accidents while driving. For teens who had to share a vehicle, the figure was just 10 percent.