Nothing we didn't know already, then. :rolleyes:

Teenagers too immature to drive - trauma expert
By JOANNA DAVIS - The Press | Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Teenagers' brains are too immature to allow them to drive safely, says a road trauma expert who wants tougher driver licensing to cut New Zealand's "appalling" youth road toll.

Road death rates in the 15 to 24-year-old age group are over 50 per cent higher than Australia where full licences are not obtainable until at least 20 years of age, according to Waikato specialist trauma surgeon Grant Christey.

He was speaking at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons conference in Christchurch yesterday.

The college's trauma committee wants driver licensing to begin at 17, rather than the current 15, and longer restrictions on driving with passengers and driving at night.

The Transport Ministry is working on a new road safety policy.

Possible changes for younger drivers include more effective deterrents for breaching the conditions on learners' or restricted licences, and increasing the level of supervised practice before drivers go solo.

Raising the age for gaining a learner's licence is not under consideration.

Christey said knowledge of brain development explained the prevalence of youth deaths.

"Hard scientific data would suggest the human brain continues to mature into the 20s," he said. "The last areas to mature are those associated with risk-taking behaviour and risk recognition."

Cathy Ferguson, chairwoman of the Australasian Surgeons' New Zealand board, said the suggested changes would be unpopular.

More here .