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Programs aim to help teens avoid crashes

Many people in Missouri are concerned about teen drivers and the risks they may pose to themselves and others on the road. This is especially true in the current climate, when teens are often equipped with smartphones, tablets and other gear that could potentially lead to driver distractions. Even without distracted driving, however, new teen drivers are the least experienced and knowledgeable on the road, and they may have difficulty responding appropriately in an emergency situation.

National Teen Driver Safety Week is marked annually in October, highlighting key statistics about teen drivers and emphasizing safety tips that people can follow to reduce the risk of serious car accidents. Crashes are actually the number one cause of death for teens aged 15 to 18, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2015, there were over 1,970 teen drivers involved in fatal accidents, and 99,000 more were injured in crashes. While distracted and drunk driving, excessive speed or poor visibility can all play a role in these disturbing statistics, in many cases teens have little knowledge about how to properly control their cars.

Some safety programs specifically aim to make teens more competent drivers in real-life road situations often unaddressed in driver's education. Teens can get practice in responding to incidents that they may experience when driving in traffic, especially when emergency maneuvers are necessary. In addition, these classes can help teens learn about driving in snow, rain or other inclement weather.

It can often take years of experience for drivers to fully develop their skills in controlling a vehicle. In the meantime, serious accidents can result, especially when negligent or dangerous maneuvers are involved. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help people injured in a crash caused by someone else to seek compensation for their damages, including medical bills and lost wages.

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