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Teen drivers more likely to crash once they are licensed

North Carolina residents should know that according to the National Institutes for Health, car crashes are the leading cause of death for drivers aged 14 to 19. Some states believe that to reduce the crash risk for teens, they must lengthen the period between teens getting their learner's permits and driver's licenses. The results of a study that the NIH conducted with Virginia Tech University seem to back up this way of thinking.

The study involved 90 teen and 131 parent participants. Researchers analyzed driver behavior from the time the teens obtained their permits to the point when they had been driving with a license for one year. They used dashcams to observe the driver and road, and software recorded speed and braking, among other data.

Researchers found that the risk for a crash or near-miss with another vehicle went up eight times from the last three months of parental supervision to the first three months without it. The first thing the authors of the study suggest is a more gradual decrease in supervision during those crucial first months when teens are licensed.

Parental supervision prevents teens from developing certain skills, so a better understanding of how teens learn safe driving is essential. There are other factors that influence the safety of teen drivers, which NIH researchers will be studying in the future.

Teens, like everyone else, are responsible for keeping their vehicles under control. If they become negligent and cause car accidents, the victims may have the grounds to file third-party insurance claims. Victims, for their part, will want lawyers to help build up their cases. Attorneys could hire experts to study the police reports or measure the extent of the victims' injuries as well as handle all negotiations. If a settlement cannot be reached, a victim could litigate.

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