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Study: New drivers crash four times as often

Teenagers have to sit through classes on safe driving. They have to drive with their parents. They have to drive with instructors. They have to pass written tests. They have to pass actual driving tests.

Only after all that can they get a license. In theory, it should be safe for them to get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, studies have shown repeatedly that these young teens with their brand new driver's licenses are the most dangerous drivers in the country.

Accident statistics

To get an idea of just how bad it is, let's look at some of the accident statistics.

First and foremost, nothing kills as many teenagers in the U.S. as car accidents. It's the top reason for teens to pass away, outranking firearm deaths, overdoses, suicides, disease and everything else. The greatest danger any teen faces is simply getting in the car.

It's so bad that the odds that a teen driver will get into a car accident are twice what the odds are for adult drivers. Teens clearly make up only a small percentage of drivers on the road, since they can't even drive alone until they are at least 16. However, they crash twice as often as everyone else. It's stunning.

However, teens who just got a license in the last 18 months face even worse odds. They crash four times as often as adults. This tiny percentage of drivers, despite all of those tests and all of that practice, puts everyone at risk.

Why does it happen?

Naturally, accidents happen for different reasons on an individual basis, but studies dug into it to find common trends. Why do teens crash so much? They eventually cut things down to two main reasons.

First off, teens get distracted. They use their phones. They talk to friends. They change the radio station. They focus on that distraction and not driving, and that leads to accidents. In many senses, texting and driving is the biggest issue they face -- as with drivers of other ages -- but all distractions are a problem.

Secondly, the study simply cited inexperience. Adult drivers essentially have years or decades of experience to fall back on. They have driven around other drivers and had close calls -- and accidents -- that taught them how to drive safely. Teens have not. Until they get that experience, they keep on making a lot of mistakes.

Your rights

The statistics show that teens crash frequently, and they put you at risk on the road in Northwest Ohio, no matter how much experience you personally have. If you get hurt in an accident, you need to know what rights you may have to financial compensation.

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