White Paper – mhmokaysure

Working Hypothesis

Due to lack of cerebral development, the minimum driving age should be raised to the age of 21 nationwide in order to reduce the dangers novice drivers present to those with whom they share roads.

Affective and deliberative processes in risky choice: Age differences in risk taking in the Columbia Card Task

It seems counterintuitive that young adults and adolescents are expected to perform increasingly demanding tasks, and make increasingly difficult decisions, while often still developing the needed skills in order to do so. Authors Figner and Bernd of Affective and deliberative processes in risky choice: Age differences in risk taking in the Columbia Card Task, a psychological study conducted to test risk taking skills across different age groups stated that  “Everyday risk taking shows a typical developmental trajectory. Comparatively low during childhood, risk taking increases when individuals reach puberty, peaks in adolescence and early adulthood, and decreases again during adulthood. This age pattern has been documented in different risk-taking behaviors, such as the use of licit and illicit substances, dangerous behavior in traffic.” A study not at all related to automotive accidents, or driver ability, clearly states that what is known of risk taking supports the idea of young drivers performing dangerous behavior in traffic, putting themselves and others at risk. Furthermore, the authors cite a study conducted by Reyna & Farley, as well as Steinberg, saying “in everyday life, adolescent risk taking is often based on poor or even “absent” decision making”. Showing that adolescents just do not have the experience or the capability to reduce risky behavior and decision making, in turn endangering themselves and others on the road.

Age and Gender Differences in Risk-Taking Behaviour as an Explanation for High Incidence of Motor Vehicle Crashes

When looking at the data presented in authors Cathy Turner and Rod McClure’s Age and Gender Differences in Risk-Taking Behaviour as an Explanation for High Incidence of Motor Vehicle Crashes as a Driver in Young Males, it seems counterintuitive that as a society we continue to allow young male drivers to obtain a driver’s license at such a young age. Using data from Australian motor vehicle accidents in the years 1999 and 2000, Cathy Turner and Rod McClure’s go on to present that “male drivers were involved in 75% of fatal motor vehicle crashes in  both 1999 and 2000, with those aged 17-25 years involved in one in every five fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2000.” This is compared to females in the same age group accounting for only 7% of fatal accidents. 20 compared to 7 percent, with both genders being in the 17-25 age group is concerning to say the least. To go along with this, the mean score of the “thrill seeking” category of the study conducted was 1.52. This was based on the data received from 692 respondents ranging in age from 17 to 88. The mean score of the youngest age group, those aged 17-29, however was more than double this, with a mean score of 4.17 in that age group specifically. Based off this, one begins to wonder whether the correlation between risk-taking behavior, fatal accidents, and seeking a thrill are all due to the lack of comprehending consequences, a common theme in the younger age group.

Multivariate analysis of age-related driver ability and performance deficits

It seems counterintuitive to solely focus on young drivers when determining risk factors on the roads. In fact age appears to play a role on both ends of the driver spectrum, with both the youngest and oldest drivers on the road posing a bigger threat than any other age group. In fact, old age plays a significant role in the findings of research titled Multivariate analysis of age-related driver ability and performance deficits conducted by James and Scott McKnight, where they find “the fact that elderly drivers are disproportionately involved in multi-vehicle accidents (Cerrelli, 1989) means that their increased accident risk is extended to the driving population at large.”. Further looking into the topic, the authors of this study went on to conduct physical tests to try and narrow down the potential causes for this increase in risk, finding that “Significant correlations (r=0.4–0.5) were found between unsafe driving incidents and deficiencies in attentional, perceptual, cognitive and psychomotor categories and 0.3 for the visual.” This leads one to believe that although age increased the risk of these accidents, it may in fact be deficiencies in attentional, perceptual, cognitive and psychomotor skills that are responsible.

The sex disparity in risky driving: A survey of Colombian young drivers

It seems counterintuitive that there are people who assume that young drivers are only a problem in the United States. In fact, it is immature to assume that this issue only applies to the most developed nations. Instead, in his article The sex disparity in risky driving: A survey of Colombian young drivers, author Oscar Oviedo-Trespalacios states that, “young drivers in Colombia appear to engage in the same risky driving behaviors as young drivers in developed nations.” Seeing this based on the survey conducted, asking 392 students of a major university aged 16-24 about their driving habits, one can see that this is not just an issue found in the United States, instead a recurring trend around the world.

Rates of Motor Vehicle Crashes, Injuries, and Deaths in Relation to Driver Age, United States, 2014 – 2015

It seems counterintuitive that insurance companies release data regarding accident statistics in the United States yearly, however the trends remain consistent. Such is the case in AAA’s Research Brief titled Rates of Motor Vehicle Crashes, Injuries, and Deaths in Relation to Driver Age, United States, 2014 – 2015, where in the opening statement one can read that  “Drivers ages 16-17 continue to have the highest rates of crash involvement, injuries to themselves and others and

deaths of others in crashes in which they are involved.” Furthermore, statistics in the brief state that “The crash rate of drivers ages 16-17 years was nearly double that of drivers ages 18-19 and approximately 4.5 times that of drivers ages 30-39, 40-49, and 50-59”. A seemingly impossible statistic, but when combined with the fact that these drivers are inexperienced, and sometimes do not have fully developed risk taking abilities. Without the proper tools required to safely conduct the task of driving, a lot of questions regarding what needs to be changed come up.

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