While many of us hold tightly to a false sense of security that this is not an occurrence that we are likely to experience, unfortunately this is a reality for families everyday. On average between 6 and 13 teenagers die from motor vehicle accidents everyday. Additionally, another 650 to 1,100 teenagers visit emergency rooms everyday with injuries sustained from motor vehicle accidents. In both cases, regardless of details reported in police reports — the proximate cause of injuries and deaths in nearly every accident involving teenagers is the inexperience of teenage drivers. Drivers between 16 and 19 years of age are 3 times more likely than drivers 20 years or older, to be involved in a fatal accident.
The leading contributing factors to teenage motor vehicle accidents are teenage drivers’ inexperience and their underdeveloped decision making skills. When driving, the brain’s frontal lobe plays an enormous role, especially the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for processing critical data for making rational decisions. This is the part of the brain that tells experienced, mature drivers not to dart across three lanes to make an exit. This is the region of the brain that tells mature and experienced drivers to slow down before taking a deep curve. It tells mature and experienced drivers that turning off your headlights while driving at night is not cool, it’s dangerous and potentially life-threatening. This part of the brain does not fully mature until the age of 20 at the earliest and, according to some professionals, maybe as late as 25 years of age. And this does not contemplate the added impact of mobile technology, texting and social media that today’s young drivers have to contend with.