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Researchers Evaluate Real-World Teen Driving Programs

Young drivers in Mississippi could learn valuable lessons by participating in risk reduction programs that combine classroom learning with trips to morgues, intensive care units and emergency rooms. This was the conclusion reached by researchers from Baylor University after observing a group of 21 teen drivers as they participated in such a program in Texas. However, the researchers were not able to establish if learning about driving dangers led to more responsible behavior behind the wheel.

Encouraging teens to improve their driving skills is important because car accidents are one of the leading causes of death for U.S. teenagers, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. The researchers noticed that hospital visits that included meetings with trauma center doctors and nurses seemed to have an especially powerful impact on the participants. The study was published in the trade journal Transportation Research in June 2018.

The effectiveness of the risk reduction program was measured by comparing the answers teens gave to a series of road safety questions they were asked both before and after taking part. The results of this comparison suggest that exposure to the real-world consequences of negligent driving help teens to understand the influence their friends have over their decisions and the dangers of excessive speed.

When inexperienced drivers take to the roads, accident risks increase. The victim of a car crash could face many costs, from medical bills to missed work time. However, an attorney could file a personal injury claim against an at-fault driver. A settlement could cover a victim's damages.