Cute Sarah Hyland on Modern Family plays a clueless young driver desperate to get her driving license, but failing the test, then getting a learner's permit, and proceeding to have driving accidents. It's a portrayal that is typical for young drivers around the world. In the UK, ingenie® car insurance conducted a survey of young drivers in partnership with RoadSafe®. More than 50% of first time drivers admitted to feeling nervous, scared and overwhelmed on the road. Male drivers aged 17-25 described confidence as their main emotion when first taking to the road, and were more than twice as likely to have an accident than female drivers. More disturbingly 89% of young drivers take less than the recommended 40 hours of driving lessons. The UK is preparing stricter driving laws to tackle the problem of young drivers getting into accidents.
In Canada stricter laws have already seen a reduction in such accidents. After graduated licensing was introduced to the Canadian state of Alberta in 2003, collision rates for new drivers dropped by 77 per cent, says Heather Kazuba, a spokeswoman for Alberta Transportation. In new stricter laws, probationary drivers in Alberta will not be able to have more than one passenger in the car under the age of 18 in the first six months of driving. They would also not be allowed to drive between midnight and 5 am. The United States does not have any national driving standards, and driving privileges are granted at a younger age than other countries. There is a move towards stricter laws in the US, where the minimum age for a learner's permit would be 16 and 18 for a full license, there would be no driving at night for teens below 18, a prohibition on cell phones and extra passengers, and a certain minimum number of hours of supervised driving.
Though she plays a teen on Modern Family, Sarah Hyland is actually 21. In an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Hyland says she's nothing like her character Hayley: "Yes, I do know how to drive. I'm from New York. When I decided I was going to move to LA, I took driving lessons and got my license. Then I moved out to LA two weeks later and was just thrown into the chaos. It was wonky at first, but practice makes perfect. Haven't hit any pedestrians yet." As seen in the photo Sarah Hyland drives a Toyota Prius. She's been in an accident when boyfriend Matt Prokop was at the wheel; they were reading lines while he drove (eek!) when Adele's Someone Like You came on the radio and they stopped reading, allowing Matt to pay attention to the road. The car hit a water pocket but Matt was able to avoid a potential accident. The young couple were guilty of distracted driving.
In her other driving experience, Sarah Hyland told J14 magazine: "but the craziest thing I've ever done was a driving scene because I'd actually never drove while filming. I actually had to drive around and everything, so I was concentrating on the road and making sure I got my lines right. It was really intense, but at least I got that under my belt and out of the way!" On her twitter Hyland complains about traffic: "I would really like it for traffic to not screw me over every frikkin day. The earlier I leave, the worse traffic gets. Can't catch a break."