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Risky teen driving can escalate after license approval

Teen drivers in Pennsylvania may be most likely to cause car accidents in the first several months after they receive their driver's licenses. With a learner's permit, a teen driver can only operate a vehicle with another adult driver in the car. However, once these teens receive licenses of their own, they are free to drive on their own. During the first three months of solo driving, newly licensed teens are eight times more likely to have a car accident or experience a near miss in comparison to their last three months of driving accompanied with a permit.

The study, conducted by Virginia Tech and the National Institutes of Health, placed dashcams in the cars of teen drivers, following them from the time they received learner's permits to the end of their first year with driver's licenses. Software that records speed and braking was also installed in the vehicles. The researchers learned that newly licensed teen drivers were more likely to turn sharply, brake quickly and without warning and speed up too rapidly. These driving behaviors led to a number of motor vehicle accidents and near-misses.

Throughout that first year of driving, these risky behaviors declined in frequency, although car crashes remained steady. Interestingly, the researchers also noted that teens actually drive more safely at night or in rain and snow in comparison to adults, but they are much more likely to drive dangerously during the day and in sunny conditions.

Teens who cause car accidents with their dangerous behavior may be completing their learning as drivers, but the consequences for others on the road can be severe injuries and permanent disabilities. A personal injury lawyer can help accident victims hurt by another's negligent or dangerous driving to pursue compensation for the harms they have suffered, including medical bills and lost wages.

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