Teen drivers account for 10x as many crashes as middle-age drivers

I have a teen driver in the house- the last in the terrifying trilogy.  She’s been driving for nearly a year and I have to say she does a pretty good job despite the phantom brake pedals that appear on the passenger side of the car whenever I ride along!   I noticed, however, that “defensive driving” isn’t stressed as much these days in Driver’s Ed as it was when I was learning how to drive.

In honor of National Safety Month, check out this informative New York Times post.  It gives insightful information about why teenagers account for 10 times as many car crashes as middle-age drivers.

Teens Driving

Week 3 of National Safety Month will focus on Teen Driving Safety

If you guessed reckless driving is the cause, you guessed incorrectly.  Dr. Dennis Durbin, co-director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia says that focusing on these three common novice driver mistakes could significantly improve teenage driving:

  1. Failing to scan the road (causes 21% of teen crashes).
  2. Misjudging driving conditions (causes 21% of accidents).
  3. Becoming distracted (causes of 20% of accidents).

All of these are deficiencies are linked to our failure to teach defensive driving. Share this article with your teen drivers and, if necessary, make a plan to correct these common mistakes.

The Howard County Police Department will offer Collision Avoidance Training for new drivers on June 24th and 25th.

Finally…  what are some key rules that you learned as a teen driver or that you taught your new drivers?  I liked the advice to pretend that there was an egg between your foot and the gas pedal…   in theory it kept me from stomping on the gas.   The best advice we receive in our comments section will win a Howard County General Hospital pedometer!


Howard County Health and Fitness EventsThis Week’s Events!

It’s that time of year again, one of the most exciting in the Library for readers of all ages: it’s time for the Summer Reading Kickoff.  Join us at the East Columbia Branch on June 4, 2011 at 9 a.m. and throughout the day for funfilled events and to register for our Summer Reading Clubs.
Immediately before the Summer Reading Kickoff, at 8 a.m., bring family, friends, and neighbors to the 5K and Family Fun Run benefiting the Library. The course begins and ends at East Columbia Branch. It’s too late to register, but not too late to cheer the runners on!

Don’t forget to attend the Third Annual Men’s Health Fair of Howard County on Saturday, June 4 from 10 a.m. –  2 p.m. at Howard High School.

Also on June 4, join Well & Wise’s own Farmers’ Market Chef for a class of the same name. She’ll discuss  creative ideas for using seasonal produce or CSA shares. Samples available. Register online.

And gardeners, we’ll never leave you in the dust, just the dirt with our Ask a Master Gardener series at the Miller Branch 6/4 from 10am-12pm and again on June 6 from 7 – 8:30 p.m.

And bring the whole family to Healthy Howard Day for fun and games on Sunday, June 5 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Centennial Park.

There’s a lot of fun to be had this weekend, including some brain-challenging fun with the Chess Club at the Central Branch at 1p.m. on June 5. Ages 10-17 welcome.

Explore simple health concepts inspired by children’s literature at our Healthy Kids class on June 6 at 10:15 am at the Savage Branch. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Multi-week series. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 30 minutes before program.

And on June 6 at 3:30 p.m. at the Glenwood Branch we have free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital.

Are your little ones looking for some high-seas adventures?  The Miller Branch is hosting the Pee Wee Pirates show on June 7 at 11 a.m. So join Captain Jean, the Pirate Queen to learn about exploration in the old days. A fun workout for brains and bodies alike! Families (ages 3 & up); 45 min. No registration required.

Teens get some exercise while helping us “Tab Our Branch” at Elkridge on June 7 at 4 p.m.  Join the Teen Advisory Board and spruce up our branch for summer. Wear clothes suitable for painting. No registration required.

And on we’re still Calling All Volunteers! Join us at the Glenwood Branch at 7 p.m. on June 7 or the East Columbia Branch at 4 p.m. on June 10.  You could make reading fun for kids and earn service learning hours. To register for orientation session, submit a volunteer application. Accepted applicants will be contacted to confirm registration.

Ellicott City Seniors, growing older shouldn’t mean slowing down.  Keep sharp and engage in lively conversation by joining folks at the Ellicott City Senior Center adjacent to the Miller Branch for a book discussion on June 8 from 1 – 2 p.m.  This month please bring a title or two to recommend.

Get inspired to dance or pick up some new moves at The Urban Dance Showcase on June 8 at the Central Branch at 7 p.m.  Instructors and expert dancers perform the latest footwork in Chicago Steppin’ and Urban Ballroom dancing. Participants include Yvonne Stewart & Baltimore Steppers in Motion; Gary Brown & Tracy Stewart; and Garrett Kellam & Another Level Dance Studio. Register online.


Mary Catherine Cochran is a big believer in communications and the critical role that it plays in community building.  (Although she is still adjusting to doing it in 140 characters or less!) When she isn’t busy truncating the message, she works as a Senior Communications Project Manager at Howard County General Hospital: Johns Hopkins Medicine where, among other things, she manages and writes for the Well & Wise blog.


  1. Sarah

    3 bits of driving advice given by my drivers ed instructor:

    1) “Mirror Mirror Shoulder” Before changing lanes – check both mirrors and look over your shoulder for the blind spot. This has saved my tush so many times on the road!

    2) Telephone pole space… on the highway look at the car in front of you and count the seconds after it crosses a telephone pole. If you’re crossing in less than 2 seconds, it means you’re tailgating and need to back off. I’ve since learned what the space feels like, but when I was a teen this really helped remind me how far the space was.

    3) The Cadillac test. When turning left, make sure you don’t cross the yellow line by pretending there is a gigantic boat of a car (He said to imaging a large Pink Cadillac) and avoid hitting it.

    Even with the best instructors – I still managed to get in 2 minor accidents as a teen. I think if they raised the driving age the stats wouldn’t change much. I honestly think experienced drivers are just much better drivers than an inexperienced drivers.

    • These are great tips!

    • Sarah, you’ve won a pedometer for your great tips! Email mcochran@hcgh.org to let us know how we can get this to you! Thanks again for your great ideas.

      • Feeling jealous in this win of @Sarah. lolz. Actually those 3 tips given by Sarah were very valuable not for only new teen drivers but also experienced drivers. Sometimes accident can take place because of over confidence.

  2. I put all my electronics- phone, ipod, etc in the glovebox… out of sight, out of reach. Also, I couldn’t listen to music in the beginning, but now I set my station before I leave and don’t change the channel or volume unless I am stopped.