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New Liberty Mutual study explores teens’ behavior behind the wheel

I came across this article and thought I would share it with you. Having 2 kids in high school and at different driving experience levels, the article rang true to me.

U.S. teenagers are more reckless after their first few years of driving, often becoming overconfident in their abilities and putting themselves at higher risk for accidents, a new study shows.

More than half of high school seniors have car accidents or near misses, compared with 34 percent of sophomores, according to the study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. and the group Students Against Destructive Decisions. No wonder insurance rates for young drivers is so high.

More people, including “hyper-connected” teenagers, are distracted by their phones while driving, and insurers are seeking to counter reckless behaviors amid an increase in car accidents in recent years. According to the study, 75 percent of high school seniors “feel confident” in their driving abilities, and 71 percent use a phone behind the wheel. The study said the misplaced confidence could stem from parents who taper off punishment for poor driving after their kids have a year or two of practice under their belts.

“Older teens are still inexperienced drivers — even if they feel otherwise,” Mike Sample, lead driving-safety consultant at Liberty Mutual, said in the report. “Using an app behind the wheel, even glancing away for a second, can impair your driving ability and set off a chain reaction that could lead to a crash or near miss.”

Phones aren’t the only issue. Driving while drowsy, speeding, having multiple passengers and browsing music become more prevalent as new drivers gain confidence.

Dr. Gene Beresin, a senior adviser on adolescent psychiatry at SADD, said teens naturally gain confidence as they drive more.

“As a result, it is even more important for parents and teens to have conversations about safe driving practices to avoid potentially putting themselves and others at risk on the road,” Beresin said in the report.

Liberty Mutual, the third-largest U.S. property-casualty insurer, surveyed almost 3,000 teens from high schools across the country and 1,000 parents of young drivers for the study.

The insurer encourages parents to continue teaching their kids, even after they get licenses.

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