VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Car crash risk goes up for teens once they are licensed

The National Institutes for Health reports that car crashes are the leading cause of death among 14- to 19-year-olds. Another study by the NIH, which was conducted with Virginia Tech University, should be of interest to teen drivers in Florida because it has found out when the risk for crashes and near-misses reaches a particularly high point.

One might think that the risk is highest when teens still have their learner's permits, but this is not the case. After analyzing 90 teen and 131 parent participants in Virginia, researchers concluded that the first three months of driving with a license are worse than the three months prior to that. Alarmingly, the crash risk went up by eight times.

The reason may be that when teens are supervised, they are unable to learn certain driving skills, leaving them vulnerable once that supervision is gone. The NIH recommends a gradual decrease in parental supervision during those first few months when teens are licensed drivers.

Some states have instituted longer learning periods to combat the danger. For example, Illinois passed a rule in 2008 that tripled the time between the obtaining of a learner's permit and a license. There were 155 teen driver deaths in Illinois in 2007, and largely as a result of this legislation, there were only 76 deaths in 2017.

Under personal injury law in Florida, those who are injured in an auto accident and are not to blame, at least not wholly, can file a claim. The degree to which they were to blame will, of course, lower the amount to which they're eligible to receive. To ensure the maximum settlement, victims can hire a lawyer and have him or her negotiate on their behalf with the defendant's auto insurance company. A successful claim could cover medical expenses, vehicle damage, lost wages and more.

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