Study examines how, why teen drivers crash

Philadelphia – In a recent study of motor vehicle crashes involving teen drivers, rear-ending a stopped vehicle was the No. 1 crash scenario, according to researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

For the study, researchers used data collected between 2005 and 2007 from the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey to analyze 642 drivers 16-19 years old who had committed a driver-related error that contributed to a serious crash, in addition to analyzing 1,167 drivers ages 35 to 52.

In an Aug. 14 blog post, researchers said teen drivers and adult drivers shared many of the same top crash scenarios:

  • Rear-ending a stopped vehicle
  • Turning left into the path of a vehicle (cross traffic)
  • Negotiating a curve, off right edge of road, right roadside departure
  • Going straight, off right edge of road, right roadside departure
  • Turning left across the path of a vehicle (opposing traffic)

Rear-end and left-turn crashes primarily were caused by recognition or decision errors, researchers said. Most of the crashes in which teens drove off the road were due to decision errors such as speeding or poor driver performance.

Researchers acknowledged that because data was collected between 2005 and 2007, it provides little information on the role cell phone use plays in these crashes.

The study is scheduled to be published in the November issue of Accident Analysis and Prevention.