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Newly licensed teens may be risky drivers

Teen drivers in West Virginia and across the country may be at their most dangerous to themselves and others on the road in the first months after obtaining their driver's licenses, according to one study. When teens have a learner's permit, they are required to be accompanied in the car by a parent or other adult. However, once they receive their licenses, they are able to drive alone. This shift from accompanied to solo driving can be more difficult than anticipated.

The study found that teens were eight times more likely to have a car accident or a near-collision in the first three months after getting their driver's licenses, when compared to the last three months with their learner's permits. The problems were largely caused by a number of driving errors, including excessively speedy acceleration, abrupt braking and sharp turns. The researchers, who tracked the subjects' driving using dash cams installed in the teens' vehicles as well as software that recorded acceleration and braking, concluded that driving alone can often pose difficulties for teens who are new drivers.

They noted that the riskiest behaviors while driving did decrease in the first year that teens were licensed, but actual car accident figures remained the same throughout that initial year. The study followed the teen drivers from the time they obtained their learner's permits until the end of their first year as licensed drivers.

While teen drivers may still be mastering essential skills, the consequences of motor vehicle collisions can be severe and long-lasting. People who have been injured in a car crash due to someone else's negligent driving might want to have the assistance of an attorney when attempting to obtain compensation for medical bills and other losses.

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