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Study looks at supplemental driver education programs

Wisconsin teens might benefit from road safety programs that have reality-based and interactive elements. Researchers at Baylor University in Texas recommended these types of programs after studying responses from participants who took part in the Texas Reality Education for Drivers program. This program involves lectures, discussions and visits to places such as the morgue, emergency room and intensive care unit.

Young drivers who were sent to the six-hour program by parents, community groups or court administrators took a survey before starting the classes. A number of participants admitted to talking on phones and texting while driving. After the program, however, their awareness of the role of peer influence in drinking and driving and the dangers of speeding was higher. Of the 21 original participants, only six filled out the follow-up survey two months later. Four had driven, and all said they had driven while texting or talking on the phone. Two said they had driven more than 20 miles above the speed limit.

Researchers said that although the follow-up was inconclusive, the study did indicate that there was some value to the programs. They also said there should be additional "booster" programs after the initial classes.

If a teenage driver causes a motor vehicle accident that injures others, the parents' insurance company might be responsible for the damages. However, these injuries may be life-changing, and in some cases, the insurance company will offer too little in compensation. Passengers and other drivers who are injured in these types of accidents might want to obtain legal guidance. An attorney could file a civil lawsuit if the compensation offered is inadequate.

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