While most teens are more than excited to get that coveted driver’s permit, a new study just released by Michelin and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile reveals that teen drivers may be less than ready to drive, lacking the basic safe driving knowledge and skills they need. According to the study, this lack of education may result in nearly 300,000 preventable car crashes involving inexperienced drivers each year.
According to the study, which surveyed 1,001 U.S. teen drivers ranging from 15 to 17 years along with their parents, many of these young drivers lack the ability to change a tire, spot insufficient tread depth, or check tire pressure. This knowledge gap has led to serious consequences:
“Of the 2.2 million vehicle accidents per year, 12 percent are among inexperienced drivers and involve tire-related issues such as insufficient tire tread or improperly inflated tires, a number which is nearly three times higher than with experienced drivers. That equates to one accident every two minutes.”
Michelin North America Inc. Chairman Pete Selleck wants to raise awareness about the issue, and wants to see driver education programs address the issue of preventable accidents, which too often end in death. He’d like to see state governments expand or add tire-safety education in driver-education courses. Reportedly, only 16 states currently require tire-safety information as part of their driver education programs. As Selleck notes, “It’s troubling to see this data and know that underinflated tires, or tires with worn treads are contributing to these accidents.”
If you have a teen driver at home, contact your driver education instructor to see if they include tire safety programs. In the meantime, educate them on topics like handling a blow out, handling hydroplaning, and proper tire care. Investing the time now will lead to safe driving habits for a lifetime!