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NIH: Teens More Dangerous After Getting Their Driver's Licenses

Virginia Tech University and the National Institutes for Health collaborated on a study that analyzed teen driver behaviors before and after they obtained their licenses. Car crashes are the leading cause of death among 14- to 19-year-olds in Mississippi as in every other state, so both teens and parents will want to be familiar with what this study reveals.

Researchers observed the behaviors of 90 teen drivers in Virginia using dashcams and special software that recorded speed and braking times. The study period began when the teens obtained their learner's permits and ended one year after they became licensed. Researchers then calculated the risk for crashes and near-misses. The likelihood of teens getting into an accident or near-miss increased eight times between the last three months of having their permits and the first three months of having their licenses.

While unsafe driving behaviors like severe turning and harsh braking decreased once the teens became licensed, the crash risk did not. The report also showed that teens are more careful than adults are when driving in bad weather and at night but less so on bright, clear days.

The authors of the study believe the most important thing to do is gradually decrease parental supervision during the first few months that teens are licensed. This way, they can more easily learn those skills that can only be developed alone. Lengthening the permit phase could also be beneficial.

If teens disregard their safety and get into a car collision, they may be liable for the other person's injuries and vehicle damage. Victims can consider filing a claim against the negligent driver's auto insurance company. If successful, the claim could cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. Gathering proof and negotiating with the insurance company can be hard, so victims will want legal representation. Accident attorneys usually have networks of professionals who can assist as well.

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