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With no supervision, licensed teen drivers more prone to crashes

Teen drivers in Michigan may be at a higher risk for car crashes immediately after, rather than before, they obtain their licenses. This is according to a study conducted by the National Institutes for Health and Virginia Tech University, the results of which were published in July. Researchers analyzed 90 teen and 131 parent participants in Virginia, observing both the drivers and the road via dashcams and using special software to record speed and braking times.

The study period lasted from the time the teens obtained their learner's permits to the end of year one as licensed drivers. Researchers found that the risk for a near-miss or collision with another vehicle went up eight times in the first three months as licensed drivers over the three months prior to that.

While teens engaged in unsafe driving behaviors like turning severely, braking harshly and accelerating too quickly, this went down over time. However, the overall crash risk did not similarly go down during the first year of being licensed. Researchers point out that adult supervision helps teens develop better driving habits.

The NIH released a report in April stating that car crashes are the leading cause of death for 14- to 19-year-olds. Researchers plan to study what factors lead to safer outcomes for teen drivers.

When unsafe behaviors like speeding or texting while driving contribute to a car accident, the victim may be eligible for compensation. A personal injury claim, if successful, could result in a settlement covering medical expenses, vehicle damage and other losses. The auto insurance company may refuse to pay out, however. This is where a lawyer could come in and provide helpful representation for a crash victim.

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