Adolescent Physiology and Effect on Driving

Researchers believe that teens who have not completed the pruning process simply do not have the brainpower to manage all of the available neural pathways and manage multiple thoughts, critical memories, and emotions well enough to make good decisions. 

Research indicates the motivation of young drivers to seek thrills or impress friends is often much stronger than the willingness to be safe. Adults see this as a feeling of invincibility. Teens look at it as living one day at a time and having fun. Most young people simply do not see themselves as likely to be in a collision. 

Immaturity and inexperience are characteristics that often make the teen less skilled and less cautious. Ignore these facts and add in the advanced automobile of today and we have created a potentially deadly machine on the highway. 

It will be important in the future to govern youth as they begin their driving by preparing legislation founded upon this developmentally and scientifically based information. The graduated driver licensing (GDL)  laws that we see sweeping the nation are the first attempt to take a teen’s natural limitations into consideration as we prepare them to drive safely. 

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