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Advanced courses aim to make teens safer motorists

Teenage drivers have always been the riskiest age group on California roads. Not only are they more likely to make impulsive decisions than older drivers, but they also lack the car control experience of other age groups. Meanwhile, cellphones and other distracting gadgets constantly tempt young drivers to take their eyes and minds off the road, making a bad situation even worse.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that auto accidents are the top cause of death for Americans between the ages of 15 and 18. In 2015, nearly 2,000 teen drivers were involved in fatal car crashes and another 99,000 were injured in auto accidents. While the NHTSA doesn't list the cause of each car accident involving a teen driver, research shows that distracted driving, poor decision making, weather and general driving inexperience are frequent contributing factors.

To help address this issue, many defensive driving courses aimed at teens are popping up across the country. For example, the Tire Rack Street Survival program helps young drivers become safer and better prepared when behind the wheel. It does this by focusing on real-world scenarios that are merely skimmed over in traditional driver's training courses. These scenarios include maneuvering on ice and snow and executing emergency panic stops. Similar programs include B.R.A.K.E.S., Bondurant Racing School Advanced Teen Driving and Ford Driving Skills for Life.

When teen drivers cause car accidents, they can be held accountable in civil court. In some cases, their parents could be held financially responsible as well. Injured victims might want to have legal assistance when seeking compensation for their losses.

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