New Study Released on Teen Health

Teenage drivers are eight times more likely to be involved in a collision or near miss during the first three months after getting a driver’s license, compared to the previous three months on a learner’s permit, suggests a study led by the National Institutes of Health. Teens are also four times more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as rapid acceleration, sudden braking and hard turns, during this period. In contrast, teens on a learner’s permit drove more safely, with their crash/near-crash and risky driving rates similar to those of adults. The study appears in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The study is one of the first to follow the same individuals from the beginning of the learner period through the first year of independent driving, while continuously collecting information using software and cameras installed in the participants’ vehicles. The study also evaluated parents’ driving in the same vehicles, during the same time, on similar roads and under similar driving conditions as their children. The study enrolled 90 teenagers and 131 parents in Virginia, and the data collection system was developed by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Blacksburg.

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