Regardless of driver age, car accidents are a leading cause of injury in the U.S. In fact, each year, roughly 4.4 million Americans require emergency medical care due to motor vehicle crashes. Still, drivers in some age groups have a greater chance of causing a collision than others.
Teens and senior citizens tend to drive older and less safe vehicles. Consequently, drivers in these age groups may be at increased risk for injury in car accidents. Do teens or seniors make better drivers, though?
When it comes to safety, teen drivers have a few things working against them. First, they often lack experience behind the wheel. While driver’s education courses may help, there is no substitute for experience. Furthermore, teens may have a more difficult time maintaining focus. Because distracted driving may be as dangerous as drunk or drowsy driving, a teen’s failure to pay attention could increase accident risk. Finally, teens often engage in risky driving behaviors like speeding.
Senior drivers often have the experience teen motorists lack. As drivers age, though, their reflex times may increase. Older drivers may also have poor eyesight or chronic medical conditions that make them unsafe. Likewise, because seniors may drive less frequently than younger ones, they may lose familiarity with the rules of the road.
Because many teens and seniors are safe and competent drivers, it is important not to overgeneralize. Instead, family members should closely monitor teen and senior drivers for safety risks. If drivers from either group are incapable of driving safely, loved ones should take steps to correct the issue.
Ultimately, while teens may become better drivers through education, coaching, and monitoring, seniors simply might not be able to keep their driving privileges forever.