Car crashes are still considered to be the leading cause of death or injury in Illinois. A significant amount of research has been done to figure out contributing factors to car accidents and ways to make driving safer.
Traditionally, it’s always been assumed that age is the biggest contributing factor to car accidents. Teens get into more accidents on average and generally, have riskier behavior.
New research from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute shows that age isn’t the biggest contributing factor. Instead, it’s driving experience.
How driving experience relates to crash rates
The research looked at crash data from both commercial drivers as well as civilian drivers. Of all the data that was examined, the researchers at Virginia Tech found that experience – or in this case, inexperience – was the biggest factor in car accidents.
Overall, drivers who have less than one year of driving experience are most likely to get into accidents. This is regardless of their age.
The data was across license types as well. Commercial drivers with less than a year or so of experience driving commercial vehicles were also more likely to get into an accident than someone who has been driving for years.
Why do we assume age is the biggest factor?
We assume that age has the biggest impact on crash rates because teen drivers also tend to be inexperienced drivers by default. However, if a person waits until their twenties or thirties to start driving, they’re just as likely to get into an accident within their first few years of driving as a teenager is.
This is because the more drivers are behind the wheel, the more capable they are of reacting the right way in order to avoid accidents. It’s also easier to drive the more you do it, so practice makes perfect.