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Teens may benefit from realistic drivers' ed programs

Teen drivers in North Carolina and other states are often considered to be the ones who are more likely to take risks while behind the wheel. According to results from a university study, a realistic supplemental drivers' education program that includes emergency room, ICU and morgue visits may boost awareness of risky driving behaviors among younger drivers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the leading cause of accidental teen deaths are motor vehicle collisions.

The supplemental risk reduction program referenced in the study included nearly two dozen teens referred by the courts or their parents because of instances of risky driving. During the six-hour program, participants received firsthand accounts of health care professionals' experiences with victims of car accidents, watched videos, toured various areas of a hospital and formed safe driving plans with their parents that included written contracts.

At the start of the program, teens were asked to identify their risky behaviors from the previous 30 days. Top responses included texting or talking on the phone, driving late at night and traveling on freeways. Most participants considered driving while intoxicated, speeding and not wearing a seatbelt among the riskiest driving behaviors when asked to rank risks from highest to lowest. However, very few participants considered actions like listening to the radio or riding with another teen passenger to be all that risky. It's unclear if such programs will have a long-lasting impact, although researchers noted that parents of teens who completed the program were more likely to establish and enforce additional driving rules.

With car accidents involving teen drivers, a lawyer often makes an effort to identify factors that could have contributed to the incident to determine which parties may be responsible. Such efforts might include reviewing mobile device records, interviewing witnesses and considering previous issues with risky driving behaviors. Depending on the circumstances involved, an attorney may help an accident victim secure appropriate compensation for a loss of income from work and medical expenses.

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