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New teen drivers are more vulnerable to accidents

A new study sheds some light on the risks of being a new teen driver in New Mexico. The main conclusion is that teens are eight times more likely to get in a near-miss or collision in the first three months after obtaining a license as opposed to the last three months of driving with a driver's permit.

The reason is that adult supervision, which is required for all drivers with learner's permits, encourages safe driving behaviors. At the same time, supervision prevents teens from developing bad driving habits that can only be learned alone.

Virginia Tech University and the National Institutes for Health conducted the study using 90 teen and 131 parent participants from across Virginia. Dash cams observed both the road and the driver while software recorded speed and braking. Researchers noted that teens would frequently accelerate harshly, brake abruptly and turn severely. While these behaviors decreased as drivers went solo, crash risk did not.

The results suggest that adult supervision should be gradually decreased during the first few months of driving solo. This is especially important because teens, on the whole, drive worse than adults in the day yet drive more safely than adults at night and in bad weather.

Someone who causes an auto accident because of unsafe driving practices could be held liable for damages. The victim may want a lawyer to prepare the case because auto insurance companies are aggressive in denying claims. If the extent of the injuries is open to dispute, the lawyer could request the help of medical experts. The attorney may then negotiate for the settlement out of court.

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