Have Teens Mentally Developed Enough To Drive Safely?

teen driver

We all know that teenagers are emotion-driven, poor decision-makers, and largely, not great at assessing situations. Those blanket statements, however, could still apply to many adults. Many mature adults are poor decision-makers, can’t accurately assess a situation, and are driven based on emotion. We know this because we see middle-aged people cause car accidents through road rage, hit pedestrians in crosswalks, and worse.

Is anyone really mentally developed enough to propel a ton of metal, containing highly flammable fluids at high speeds? It’s safe to say that few drivers really understand the full scope of the risks when they get behind the wheel, and teenagers aren’t likely to either.

When Is The Brain Fully Developed?

Stage three of brain development is one of the most vital stretches of growth and evolution. That stage occurs between the ages of 7 and 22 years, meaning that people are learning to drive during that time frame. During the stage, three-point in development the brain is attempting to learn to process irritability, irrational impulses, and recklessness. In short, they’re learning to make decisions based on more than impulse or feeling, but that step isn’t complete until at least age 22.

The human brain is not fully developed until age 25, and prior to that, the brain is still forming connections and new pathways. In short, teenagers simply don’t have the full development of the decision making part of their brain when they start driving.

So why do we start then? The concept of a “teenager” is generally new because of drastic social changes occurring after World War II. After that time, the emphasis on childhood and social development with peers increased. That’s when the United States saw Pop Shops and other popular hang-outs for teens flourish.

Prior to the time of teenagers exploring their social skills, they were sent to war, factories, and into the fields. It’s safe to say that if a teen was trusted to operate heavy machinery back then, they could learn to drive a car with decent decision-making ability now.

Do Specific Areas of the Brain Impact Safe Driving?

Yes, specific areas of the brain do impact driving abilities, and it’s the part of the brain that develops last. The prefrontal cortex or lobe develops last, and it is what permits us to make decisions while carefully weighing the consequences and applying social norms or rules.

However, without the opportunity to make major decisions during this time, that development would not happen until much later. For example, if we didn’t permit teens to the driver and decide on colleges or careers until age 25, they would not be prepared. The prefrontal cortex learns through experience, a trial-and-error. However, teens have had much experience with decision making in their sixteen years of life prior to getting behind the wheel. The expectation is for them to understand and realize the risks and possibilities of harm when starting the car.

Nevada Restrictions on Teen Driving

Nevada has a tiered system for teen drivers. Although it does not completely represent what the NHTSA would like to see nation-wide, it’s a start. Teen drivers can receive their permit as early as 16 years old. Then after six months with a permit, they may test for their license.

After obtaining a license no earlier than age 16, there are still restrictions. For the first 12 months of having a license, they must still have a passenger over the age of 25 in the car. Additionally, they should not have peer passengers in the vehicle without an adult. These drivers are not permitted to drive after 11 pm or before 5 am either.

Calling a Las Vegas Auto Accident Lawyer

As part of any crash resolution in Las Vegas, you might need an attorney. A Las Vegas auto crash attorney can help you get a realistic scope on your crash. That means getting a deeper understanding of the at-fault driver and how their actions resulted in your injuries and property damage. In Nevada, car accidents happen every few seconds, and Las Vegas is the epicenter of car accident injuries.

When looking for the right auto collision attorney for your case, consult with Christian Morris Trial Attorneys. Our law offices are well-established within Los Angeles, and we take great care in working with victims. Ideally, we’ll pursue compensation for your injuries, the time lost at work, medical needs beyond treatment such as transportation, and more. Call Christian Morris Trial Attorneys today for a meeting and to chat with us about your crash.