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What Makes Someone a Better Driver?

What makes someone a better driver? Is it age, experience, gender, personality? A look at the record of auto accidents in Virginia urges us to find an answer. Researchers at UCLA found that people who play organized sports tend to be better drivers. The study was intended to identify the factors that make some new drivers in their late teens better drivers than others. What makes someone a better driver? - Altizer Law, P.C.The study examined four factors: age, gender, sports participation, and video game experience. Some of their findings were surprising.

Study methodology – For this study, 100 new drivers (each driver having less than five hours behind the wheel of a vehicle) participated in a two-hour special driving lesson that focused upon control of a vehicle and managing traffic maneuvers. The group was evenly divided by gender; the average age of participants was 18. These beginning drivers were taken out on the streets of Los Angeles.

Each student was evaluated by the driving instructor, and ranked on a four-point scale. A ranking of 1 indicated that the driver required “far more” instruction; a ranking of 4 indicated that the driver was sufficiently competent to take and pass the driving test.

Findings – When the ranking of the student drivers was complete, the data was assimilated and analyzed. Here are the basic findings:

  1. Age. Driving skills of males tended to be worse as age increased. Males in their teens scored 36 percent higher than males in their twenties when driving skill was ranked. This did not apply to the females in the study.
  2. Gender. The skill scores of males and females were essentially the same. However, the females tended to have less confidence in their own skills.
  3. Organized Sports Participation. The new drivers were then divided by experience in playing an organized sport. In the skills rankings, those with experience in organized sports scored 2.66 for men, and 2.43 for women. Those with no experience playing organized sports, on the other hand, scored 1.94 for males and 1.60 for females.
  4. Video game experience. The scores of males and females showed no difference in driving ability based on experience playing video games.

Conclusions of the Study. What makes someone a better driver? Several conclusions were drawn on the basis of these findings.

  • Male teens were better drivers than males in their twenties.
  • Gender alone accounted for no significant difference in driving skill.
  • Contrary to expectations, video game experience had no bearing on the score of either males or females.
  • Prior participation in organized sports was a significant factor for both males and females. The authors of the study pointed to previous studies demonstrating that “participation in organized sports improves spatial perception.”
  • The “relatively high rate of younger drivers (especially males) is most likely due to “inattention” and not lack of driving skill.

The authors of the study recommended that states consider expanding the mandatory driver education requirement to new drivers of all ages. They believe that doing so will contribute to safer driving by people or all ages and will, in turn, reduce the number of vehicle accidents and the number of accident fatalities.

Improvements in road conditions and improved vehicle technology to assist drivers should contribute to a reduced auto accident rate and to fewer injuries and fatalities. Yet the number of crashes, injuries and deaths in Virginia is on the rise rather than the decline. So, what makes someone a better driver?

Available data suggests that the leading causes of crashes in Virginia are drinking, speeding, and distraction. Requiring driver education for all new drivers will not automatically eliminate accidents caused by these factors. Nor can we issue driver’s licenses based upon previous participation in organized sports. But would driver training make a stronger impression upon new drivers of the horrible outcomes of driving drunk or drugged, speeding, and inattention? Does driver training better equip us to prevent or evade accidents?

What do you think? Would mandatory driver education for all new drivers help to reduce the number of auto accidents on Virginia highways? What makes someone a better driver?

At Altizer Law, P.C., we sincerely hope that you never need our help. Yet when you or a loved one has been injured by the inattention or wrongdoing of another driver, you need an attorney who will fight aggressively and tenaciously for justice and maximum financial compensation. If you need representation, call Bettina. Her team fights for each client.