Are teens more prone to risky behavior behind the wheel?
On behalf of Law Offices of Steven H. Dorne posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents on March 15, 2017.
Adolescents being prone to reckless behavior would never be considered “breaking news,” particularly to those who continually interact with them. However, a recent study published in Developmental Science shows something far more troubling in the very DNA of young people.
The new research confirms that teenage brains are wired to engage in risky behaviors that spike during adolescence.
The study looked at more than 5,000 teens and young adults from the United States and 10 other countries. Researchers identified that “sensation seeking” peaks at around age 19. A young adult’s ability to self-regulate or resist the impulse climbs until their brain is fully developed at age 23 or 24.
The findings cited various types of bad conduct that ranged from sexual activity to drug and alcohol abuse. However, one type of behavior stands out as particularly troubling.
In 2015, young driver fatalities in Maryland skyrocketed by 75 percent. While numbers are not final for 2016, deaths of teenagers in motor vehicle collisions climbed even higher. Over a ten-year period, Maryland police reported an accident almost every night between 10 p.m. and midnight that involved a 16 or 17-year-old driver.
In response to these startling statistics, Maryland lawmakers are looking to turn back time. Unless a teenager is driving because of work, school, or athletics, or they are in the company of a licensed driver at least 21 years-old, they cannot operate a motor vehicle past 10 p.m.
Naturally, young drivers and their parents are pushing back on the proposal, claiming that an earlier driving deadline is inconvenient. Legislators counter with claims that the bill is about prevention, not punishment. In today’s technological world, teenagers have options that include Uber and Lyft to avoid driving after curfew.
While arguments continue, one fight seemingly cannot be won: the battle in the teen brain between reasonable and risky behavior, especially while driving.