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Enhanced drivers' education boosts risk awareness in teens

According to a new study, taking a supplemental drivers' education program that includes a trip to a hospital could help teens in Florida better understand the consequences of risky driving. However, the study, which was conducted by researchers at Baylor University, was unable to determine if the program caused teens to adopt safer driving habits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that car crashes are the top cause of accidental deaths for American teenagers. In order to better understand the issue, Baylor researchers surveyed 21 young drivers who took part in the Texas Reality Education for Drivers, which is also known as RED. The teens who took the course were either enrolled by their parents or referred by a court, school or community group. Before completing the RED program, the participants were asked to fill out questionnaires regarding their awareness of risky driving behaviors and the types of risky behaviors they had recently engaged in.

The six-hour RED program includes lectures, discussions and videos about safe driving habits. It also includes a visit to a hospital emergency room where nurses and other health care professionals talk about their experiences treating car crash victims. After completing the program, the teens expressed greater awareness of certain risky driving behaviors. However, researchers conducted a follow-up two months later and said it was unclear whether the teens' increased awareness led to safer driving habits.

A victim injured in a car accident caused by a teen driver could file a personal injury lawsuit to collect damages. An attorney could help prepare the claim and work to negotiate a settlement that covers medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other crash-related damages.

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