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Supplemental drivers' ed program could improve teens' driving

Teen drivers and their parents in Nevada may be interested to hear about the results of one Baylor University study, which analyzed the effect of supplemental drivers' education programs on teens' risk perception and driving behavior. Researchers focused on the Texas Reality Education for Drivers program, a one-day, six-hour program held in a hospital and involving a tour of the intensive care units and even of the morgue.

21 teens participated in the program because they were referred to it by a court or school administrator, referred by a community group or enrolled by their parents. The form of risky behavior that they most frequently engaged in was texting and calling behind the wheel.

The RED program is composed of tours by nurses and talks with health care staffers who had experience with car crash victims. There are also lectures, videos and discussions. Activities encourage teens to develop a contract with their parents and a safe driving plan.

Researchers say that the participants came out with a greater understanding of how dangerous speeding is and how peer pressure can influence drinking and driving. They additionally found that parental monitoring increased after teens participated in the program. Parents were more likely to set up new rules and less likely to enforce the consequences of breaking them: an indication that the teens are following them.

Such programs as the RED program remain supplemental, though. Most drivers, whether teens or adults, fail to think twice about driving distracted or engaging in other negligent acts. When negligence is behind a car accident, the injured party may be able to file a claim with the responsible party's auto insurance company. It might be wise to hire a lawyer, as he or she may decide to hire investigators and medical experts to build up the case. The lawyer might also handle negotiations.

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