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February 24, 2012

News You Could Have Guessed: Erratic Teen Drivers Cause More Accidents

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

While few of us needed a study to tell us that teenage drivers can be a hazard, it would appear that there are now studies to back it up, and those studies have predicted which teen drivers are likeliest to get into accidents. A recent podcast by Scientific American revealed that newly licensed drivers who make sharp turns and come to sudden screeching stops –  the erratic drivers – have far higher chances of a car accident.



According a transcript of the podcast published on Yahoo News, researchers installed computer and camera equipment in the cars of 42 new drivers and tracked them for 18 months with the goal of measuring “elevated g-force events,” which were defined as sudden starts/stops, screeching around corners and haphazard steering. The data were then compared to the drivers' actual records during that time, and scientists found that the more disorganized the driving, the more likely the driver was to get into an accident.

The study's data showed indicated that for every 100 miles on the road, elevated g-force events ranged from near zero for some drivers to as many as 50 incidents for others. The drivers at the higher end of the range experienced more minor fender-benders, crashes or close calls. During the course of the study 26 teenagers were involved in 37 accidents. All the study's subjects together experienced 242 near misses, reported Yahoo.

The full study is in the American Journal of Epidemiology. [Bruce G. Simons-Morton et al., "Do Elevated Gravitational-Force Events While Driving Predict Crashes and Near Crashes?"]




Edited by Rich Steeves
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