The first three months as a licensed driver appear to be more dangerous to teens than the period when they have a learner’s permit. In those three months, teens in Pennsylvania and across the country raise their risk for a crash or near-miss by eight times compared to their last three months with a permit. This was the conclusion of a study from the National Institutes for Health and Virginia Tech University.
For the study, 90 teens let themselves be monitored in the car from the time they obtained their learner’s permit to the completion of their first year as licensed drivers. Researchers used in-cab cameras and software recording braking and speed to pinpoint unsafe behaviors. Newly licensed drivers were found to take severe turns and be harsh in their braking and acceleration.
The sudden transition from having parental supervision to being alone may negatively impact driver behavior, the study says. Therefore, it may be best for driver education programs to gradually reduce supervision so that teens acquire certain skills alone while being not entirely without support. Illinois is one state that has done something similar. In 2008, it tripled the length of its driver education program, the result being that it now sees only half the teen driver deaths it used to.
Drivers of all ages can be negligent, and any car accidents they cause may lay the foundation for a case under motor vehicle accident law. Building such a case can be complicated and meet with opposition from the other party’s auto insurance company, so victims may want a lawyer by their side. Investigators might obtain a copy of the police report and any other evidence, including eyewitness testimony or phone records or camera footage, before the lawyer goes on to the negotiation stage.