NYRA just released a fascinating new study that Mike Males put together that makes a very convincing case that a large part of the reason for high traffic deaths among teens is not simply due to their age, but because of their poverty level. This is an angle of the issue that to my knowledge has never been considered before. Its about damn time.
What the study found was that low income drivers of all age groups experienced higher traffic fatality rates than middle income or more affulent drivers. In fact, poor teens have 750% more fatal crashes than rich teens. Once you equalize income levels between teens and adults, you see that teens only have a 40% higher crash rate than middle-age adults (the safest category of drivers). While this still means teens have a higher accident rate, it is MUCH smaller than what people generally think. More importantly the difference between teens and the safest adults is less than the difference between men and women.
For all the hysteria about teen driving in the past few months, its about time we hear the other side of it. What baffles me is that no one even considered doing this kind of analysis. When someone produces statistics that show black americans have higher crime rates observers immediately say that its nothing to do with their race, its because of their higher poverty rates or other socio-economic factors. And they are right. Why doesn’t the public give teens the same benefit of the doubt?
Instead no matter how poorly done or biased a study is, the media will shriek like banshees that youth are incompetent, immature, and unable to handle any responsibility. They shouldn’t be allowed to drive until 25 or else innocent people will die in a swath of teenage destruction. Ageism is the only reason for this double standard. Its not science, its not a desire to “help youth”. No, its bigotry and ageism that create this hypocrisy.
Hopefully this new study can shine some light on the glaring double standards that exist. Better yet maybe it’ll show people that teens aren’t as bad on the road as they think.
But don’t take my word for it, read the study.