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Are teen or elderly drivers the most dangerous on the road?

Equal concerns, different generations. Whether you are worried about the driving habits of your teenage son or your aging mother, both thoughts seem like dilemmas that carry equal weight. How safe is your teenager behind the wheel? And how alert is your aging mother when she drives? Finally, you wonder, “How safe are other drivers?”.

The debate has gone on for some time as to whether which driver is most dangerous: the teenager or the pensioner. This really should not be considered an ageist question. There are plenty of careless and reckless drivers on the road. However, teens and older drivers are involved in more motor vehicle accidents and highway fatalities than all other age groups.

Teens lack experience, older drivers face aging issues

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 have the highest risk of an accident than any other age group. The agency notes that drivers in this age group are three times more likely to be in a fatal accident than drivers who are 20 and older. And the teens most likely to be involved in accidents are males, those who are driving with teen passengers and newly licensed drivers.

One thing working against teen drivers is their lack of experience. With fewer hours behind the wheel, teen drivers may be more prone to indecision and mistakes. The CDC also reports that teen drivers often underestimate or fail to recognize dangerous situations compared with older drivers. Teens also have a higher propensity of making critical decision errors that contribute to serious accidents.

But the older generation brings its own roadway challenges, too. Yes, older drivers have more experience and usually drive less, but age takes its toll on a body, hindering a person’s driving abilities. And their fragile states of mind and body – their cognitive and physical abilities — often lead to more severe results. In some of these situations, the best thing to do is take away an older driver’s license.

For every driver, it is crucial to stay alert while on the road. Abide by the traffic laws, avoid distracting driving, focus on defensive driving, and be aware that certain drivers – including teens and pensioners – may bring additional dangers.