Teens transitioning from permit to license raise car crash risk

The transition from having a learner's permit and adult supervision to having a license and no supervision can be a bumpy one for many teenagers in Texas. A study from Virginia Tech University and the National Institutes for Health measured car crash risk among 90 teen participants from the time they obtained their permit to their first full year of possessing a license.

It turns out that their first three months with a license were much more risky than their last three months with a permit. Teens became eight times more likely to crash or have a near miss. Using dash cams on participants' cars and special software that recorded speed and braking, researchers found that newly licensed teens would engage more in risky behaviors like harsh braking, fast acceleration and sharp turns.

Researchers say that adult supervision can prevent teens from developing certain skills behind the wheel. For this reason, they recommend that driver education programs gradually reduce the amount of supervision. This is especially important since car accidents, according to the NIH, are the leading cause of death among 14-to-19-year-olds.

Over 10 years ago, Illinois tripled the length of time it takes for drivers to obtain a permit and a license. From 2007 to 2017, teen driver deaths were halved at 76 compared to 155.

Whether teens or adults, all drivers have a responsibility to keep others safe on the road. When they engage in negligent or reckless behavior and cause a motor vehicle accident, then they will be to blame. In Texas, victims who are 50% or less at fault are eligible for compensation, but filing a claim and reaching a fair settlement is another matter. A lawyer may come in handy, especially for the negotiation process. If a settlement cannot be achieved, victims may litigate.

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