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Study examines driver education program for young people

Minnesota teens who get more exposure to the consequences of dangerous driving behavior, such as visiting hospitals and morgues, may gain a better understanding of the risk of some types of driving behavior. However, they may not necessarily change their own behavior over the longer term. Researchers who looked at a supplemental drivers' education program in Texas said that data from a follow-up two months later was inconclusive.

The study, which appeared in the journal "Transportation Research," focused on 21 young participants in the Texas Reality Education for Drivers program. The six-hour program took place in a hospital and included videos, lectures and development of a safe driving contract. At the end of the program, participants had a better understanding of the dangers of speeding and of how drinking and driving could be influenced by peers. However, there were only six participants in the follow-up questionnaire, and all said they had texted and driven while two admitted to speeding. Researchers said that more such programs were needed along with additional follow-up.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in three accidental teen deaths is due to motor vehicle accidents. The study's lead author said that an effective plan for reduction of accidents among teens required the cooperation of parents, educators and peers.

Teens and other drivers may cause motor vehicle accidents through careless behaviors such as speeding or texting and driving, and those accidents could result in serious injuries. People who are injured in these accidents may want to talk to an attorney about how to document the injuries and how to get compensation. This is usually paid by the insurance company of the driver who is responsible for the accident, but the insurance company may offer too little, or the driver may be uninsured. If this happens, the injured person might want to file a lawsuit.

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