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RED program's realistic elements may boost drivers ed for teens

New Jersey residents with fears about their teenage children's driving habits will want to know about a study from Baylor University. Researchers there focused on a supplemental drivers' education program called the Texas Reality Education for Drivers program, and they found that its interactive, reality-based elements could help increase teens' risk awareness.

The study focused on 21 teen participants of a one-day, six-hour program. Most were either referred to it by a school administrator or court for disciplinary action, or they were enrolled by their parents. Based on a questionnaire that they filled out before the program, calling or texting behind the wheel was the most common form of risky driving behavior that they engaged in.

The RED program takes place at a hospital where teens go on a guided tour through the emergency rooms, ICU and morgue and converse with healthcare staffers who have experience treating car crash victims. Appended to these are more traditional educational elements like lectures, videos and discussions.

At the end, teens were more aware of the dangers of speeding and the role that peer influence plays on drinking and driving, among other things. Researchers focused on teens' families and found that parental monitoring increased after participation in the RED program. Whether risk awareness translated to safer driving is a question that, the authors admit, demands further research.

In cases where negligence leads to motor vehicle accidents, victims who are 50 percent or less at fault might be eligible for compensation. This is according to the state's law of comparative negligence. Victims may want to visit a lawyer for case evaluation. If the lawyer thinks the case is strong, he or she might hire third parties to gather evidence against the defendant. This may be followed by negotiations or, if a settlement cannot be reached, litigation.

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