(COLO) – Even after hours of practice and passing a test, new drivers will lack maturity and experience behind the wheel. Parents often work hard to prepare them, yet teen drivers have a higher rate of fatal crashes and make mistakes which is why all 50 states and the District of Columbia have graduated driver licensing (GDL) (NHTSA).
So, what are the major behaviors parents and caregivers can continue to help new drivers with during their first few years of holding a license? Looking at the crashes investigated by the Colorado State Patrol in 2021 for at-fault drivers aged 16-21, troopers are sharing the identified top five factors:
- Distracted Driving
- Following too closely
- Lane Violations (often an indicator of impairment, speeding, or driving distracted)
- Failure to Yield Right of Way
“It’s not uncommon to see a less experienced driver overestimate their abilities or get caught up in trying to impress others, by going a little too fast, following a little too close, or letting a friend distract them,” stated Col. Matthew C. Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Who didn’t think they were invincible as a teen or 20-year-old? It is up to the parents and adults around them to get involved and have the hard conversations.”
Topics like speeding, impaired driving, and distracted driving will not be a one-time conversation. As confidence grows, speeding and distractions often increase, many times coupled together.
“It's not hard to see how a distracted driver could weave outside of their lane or fail to stop at a light,” explains Col. Packard. “Equally people that are exceeding the posted speed often don’t leave enough space for drivers ahead and around them and they frequently move outside of their lane when the roadway curves or conditions change.”
Parents can’t rely solely on driver’s education to instill good driving behaviors. Talk to your young driver, install a driving app or car tracking device, model good behavior and set an expectation that the Colorado GDL law will be followed.
ABOUT THE COLORADO STATE PATROL
Since our origin in 1935, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within our communities. Our 1,100 members embody the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in their daily jobs. In addition to our expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more.