Picking the first car your teenager is going to drive is important. Many parents make sure that it is strong and sturdy, some look for ones with the latest safety features and other parents think about the well known fact that teenagers are more likely to get into car accidents than other, more experienced drivers. One common assumption made by parents and teens alike is that trucks are safer than smaller automobiles. However, a study conducted by a university professor and two of his students seems to suggest otherwise.
The university study was based upon traffic data collected between the years 2005 and 2007 of over 7,000 traffic accidents that occurred across the United States. The study found that teens, while making up only 6.5 percent of the driving population, have been the cause of about 13 percent of car accidents that result in a fatality. The study found that while teenagers are already more likely to cause accidents than others, a teenager who drives a pickup truck is twice as likely to be severely injured in a car accident.
So what factors contribute to the statistic? The author of the study suggests that it is a combination of several. As stated above, it is already commonly known and accepted that teenagers, as new drivers, are less experienced. The author of the study also suggests that the assumption that a larger vehicle like a pickup truck will protect you in a crash causes teenagers to drive more aggressively than they normally would.
Trucks are also constructed for work and are not designed for aggressive driving. Pickup trucks are actually less stable, harder to correct mistakes in and are much more likely to rollover in an accident.
Source: The Dallas Morning News “Teen pickup drivers double risks of severe injury in crash, UT study finds” Erin Mulvaney 11/21/10