The National Youth Rights Association (NYRA), in cooperation
with Dr. Mike Males at UC Santa Cruz, has released a new study concerning teenaged drivers that disputes
the notion that teens are reckless killers behind the wheel. The study shows that the largest risk factor for
driving is poverty, not age. They hope that the study will help combat misconceptions about teen driving that
have been perpetuated by the AAA, and what NYRA perceives as a hostile media who have not given a
critical eye to often hysteric anti-teen view points.
The study, which looks at the records of all fatal traffic
accidents in California between 1995 and 2004, shows that young people are far less dangerous behind
the wheel than previously believed, and that accidents that do happen are more likely the fault of poverty
and not age. “Young people are far more likely to live in poverty,” said Dr. Males, “When teen and middle-aged
poverty rates are equalized, teens are no more at risk on the highways than middle-agers.” “We hear all the
time how teens are a menace to society, yet the facts don’t match the hype.” said NYRA Executive Director
Alex Koroknay-Palicz, “Dr. Males’ study shows that looking at age alone gives an inaccurate, and indeed an
irresponsible picture of teen driving.” Read the full study here.