Teen drivers are often stereotyped as the worst drivers on America's roads.
They're inexperienced, detractors say, so they make mistakes that could have easily been avoided. They go on their phones too much, leading to distraction. They're willing to take risks, like speeding and even racing their cars. They grow out of these activities as they grow up, but, from ages 16 to 20, they present a real risk on the highways.
Certainly, things like inexperience and risk-taking are dangerous, but a new study shows that we may be a bit too hard on teens. It claims that millennials are actually the most dangerous drivers in America.
The study relies, in part, on simply asking drivers to admit what types of mistakes they make. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety put the survey together. It says that millennials between 19 and 24 years old admitted to running red lights, speeding, or texting and driving at a stunning rate. A full 88.4 percent said they had done so in the last 30 days.
You may note that millennials range in age from 20 to 36, so the study also looked at drivers ranging from 25 to 39 years old. They said they had done the same things -- texting and driving, speeding or running red lights -- at a rate of 79 percent. That put them square in second place as the most dangerous drivers, even above teens. Reports say that means that millennials as a whole are the "most reckless generation on the road."
It's important to note that the surveys pull their information not from arrest records or accident statistics, but from self-reported activities. This way, they include instances where a driver made a critical error -- like texting while blowing through a red light -- but was lucky enough not to get caught and not to cause an accident.
There is, of course, the chance that people would lie about their mistakes or fail to remember instances that would count. However, this is generally a reliable way to get information since there's no negative consequence to telling the truth.
Where did teens rank?
If teens have been unfairly cast as the most dangerous drivers, you may wonder where they did rank. For those between 16 and 18 years old, they ranked third overall. The admitted to the same dangerous habits at a rate of 69.3 percent. As it turns out, the three youngest age groups all combine to pose the biggest threat on the roads.
Your options after a crash
Regardless of your age, it's very important to understand the risks. Make sure you know what options you have after another driver causes an accident.