Adolescence, Attention Allocation, and Driving Safety

10964

Abstract:

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading source of morbidity and mortality in adolescents in the United States and the developed world. Inadequate allocation of attention to the driving task and to driving hazards are important sources of adolescent crashes. We review major explanations for these attention failures with particular focus on the roles that brain immaturity and lack of driving experience play in causing attention problems. The review suggests that the potential for overcoming inexperience and immaturity with training to improve attention to both the driving task and hazards is substantial. Nevertheless, there are large individual differences in both attentional abilities and risky driving tendencies that pose challenges to novice driver policies. Research that can provide evidence-based direction for such policies is urgently needed.

Authors

  • Yi-Cing Lee
  • Catherine C. McDonald
  • Daniel Romer
  • Flaura K. Winston