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Teen drivers more dangerous after getting their license

In New York and around the country, all teenagers must drive under adult supervision before going for their license. One might think that teen drivers pose a greater threat to others on the road before, not after, they obtain their license. A study from the National Institutes for Health and Virginia Tech University, however, came to the opposite conclusion.

The study involved 90 teen and 131 parent participants in Virginia. Researchers analyzed driving behaviors from the time when they obtained their learner's permit to the time when they had been driving for one year as licensed drivers. They found that teens are eight times more likely to get in a crash or near-miss in the three months after obtaining their license than in the three months before.

Researchers used software to record drivers' speed and braking times, among other data, and had dash cams to observe drivers and the road. They noted that teens are more likely to engage in unsafe behaviors like accelerating too fast and turning too sharply. These behaviors went down with licensed drivers. Teens were also safer than adults when driving at night and in bad weather.The issue seems to be that parental supervision prevents teens from developing certain skills. With no gradual decrease in supervision, licensed drivers are then lost as to how they can learn these skills.

If such a trend is not reversed, there will continue to be car accidents, and teens may be to blame for them. Victims can consult with a lawyer to see if they have the grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. In some cases the teenager's parents might be found to bear financial responsibility as well.

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