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Crash risk for teens goes up after they get their license

The National Institutes for Health conducted a study with Virginia Tech University, the results of which should be of interest to teens in Missouri. Researchers observed the driving behaviors of 90 teens from the time they obtained their learner's permit and began to drive with parental supervision to the time when they became licensed. The study ended one year after drivers received their license.

After analyzing software records of speed and braking times as well as dashcam footage of both drivers and the road, researchers found that the teens were eight times more likely to get in a crash or near-miss in their first three months as licensed drivers than in the previous three months. Though teens engaged in unsafe driving practices like severe turning, harsh braking and quick acceleration, these actions went down once they became licensed.

Teens were also discovered to be safer than adults at night and in bad weather whereas they were less cautious on bright, clear days. Nonetheless, the crash risk went up because, researchers believe, the transition from having parental supervision to having none was too sudden. Supervision keeps teens from developing certain driving skills, so researchers suggest that it be gradually decreased after teens obtain their license.

Car crashes, according to the NIH, are the number one cause of death among 14-to-19-year-olds. Teens can injure others in auto accidents, too. Victims who believe that the other side was being negligent may want to speak with a lawyer about filing a claim.

The lawyer might hire experts to bring together the police report and other evidence, and the lawyer may negotiate on the victim's behalf with the defendant's auto insurance company. The company might agree to a settlement covering the victim's medical expenses, vehicle repair costs, lost wages and other costs. If not, the lawyer may be able to litigate.

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