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Teen drivers face highest risk during first month of driving

Teenagers in Albany, other parts of New York and different areas of the country all have one thing in common -- they have to learn how to drive by doing. Graduated driver's licensing laws in New York and other states have tried to provide teenage drivers with enough experience to be comfortable on the road, but once teens are behind the wheel by themselves for the first time teens are left to build experience alone and the risk for car accidents is at its highest.

According to a new study on teenage drivers conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, teenage drivers are more likely to get into a car accident during their first month of driving than they are after their first year or two years of driving. Teen drivers are 50 percent more likely to experience a car accident during their first month of driving than they are to experience a car accident after one year of experience. Teen drivers are twice as likely to get into an accident during their month as they are after two years of driving.

The report conducted by AAA seems to show that experience is the best teacher. A spokesperson for AAA commented on the results and said teen drivers do not have enough "life experience and not enough time under their belt to negotiate everything that can crop up on the road." Though parents usually start as the "sages of driving" in the front-passenger seat, they are soon replaced by teen passengers who contribute to an environment of distraction.

The study also found that there are three common causes in teen car accidents: lack of attention, failure to yield and failure to slow down. The three mistakes make up the majority of causes of teen car crashes.

Source: The Washington Post, "Teen drivers most likely to crash in first month of solo driving," Mark Berman, Oct. 15, 2011

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