Why a still-developing brain makes teen drivers more dangerous

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Ask just about any parent of a teen if they think their child’s brain is fully formed, and they’ll probably tell you it doesn’t seem like it sometimes. In fact, the frontal lobe isn’t fully developed until a person is in their early 20s.

Here’s why that’s a problem for teen drivers (and those who share the road with them). The frontal lobe is where working memory resides. That’s the ability to remember complex, moment-to-moment tasks. That’s necessary for safe driving.

As the researchers involved with one study on the connection between working memory development and car crashes wrote, “Safe driving involves scanning, monitoring, and updating information about the vehicle and environment while managing multiple tasks (e.g., adjusting speed, steering, in-vehicle controls) and distractors (e.g., peer passengers and cellphones).”

Couple this with the fact that driving is still a new skill for teens and it’s no surprise that they have a higher rate of crashes than any other age group. The researchers hypothesized that the high crash rate has more to do with brain development than the fact that driving is a new skill. That’s because that crash rate goes down among drivers who are just out of their teens — even if they’ve just learned to drive.

If a teen driver causes an accident, however, they are just as responsible as any other driver. It may be possible to hold their parents liable as well. If you or a loved one suffered injuries as the result of a teen (or any) driver, you have a right to seek the compensation you need and deserve for expenses and damages. An experienced attorney can help you do this.

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