Researchers endorse education programs for young drivers

Irresponsible road behavior in California and around the country could be reduced if teens who have been issued citations for distracted, impaired or reckless driving were required to take part in supplemental driver’s education programs that confront them with the possible consequences of this type of behavior. This was the conclusion arrived at by researchers from Baylor University after observing 21 young drivers attending such a program in Texas.

The program, which was sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation, included visits to mortuaries and intensive care units as well as classroom sessions. Researchers gauged its effectiveness by comparing answers the participants gave to a series of driving safety questions that were asked both before the program began and after it had concluded. The results indicated that lessons had been learned, but they did not reveal whether or not they ultimately motivated the teens to change their driving habits.

Visits to hospital emergency rooms emerged as the most valuable part of the supplemental driver’s education program. After learning about the debilitating nature of car accident injuries during conversations with doctors and nurses, the teens vowed to drive more slowly and avoid using their cellphones while behind the wheel. This type of program is now being offered by auto insurance companies and hospitals as well as state and local authorities.

When a minor applies for a driver’s license in California, a parent or legal guardian must sign the driver’s license application. The application informs them that they will be considered jointly and severally liable for the minor’s negligent actions behind the wheel. This is why experienced personal injury attorneys in the Golden State are unlikely to shy away from motor vehicle accident litigation involving young defendants who have few if any assets and modest incomes.