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Reality-based programs may increase awareness in teen drivers

Parents of teen drivers know the feeling: Concerns and questions pop up whenever a young individual gets behind the wheel. With technology becoming a dominant distraction, are new drivers safe on the roads?

Other potential dangers come into play when teens enter the world of driving. In addition, many are dealing with peer pressure and external influences. Traditional driver education programs are designed to teach youths how to drive defensively and responsibly. However, a Baylor University study finds that programs may need a real-life touch.

In summary, the study hinted that supplemental drivers’ educations programs may increase awareness of the consequences of risky driving. These programs address how to proactively avoid such dangers.

What exactly is risky driving?

The study focused on the Texas Reality Education for Drivers (RED) program, in which 21 young participants completed a 17-item questionnaire about risky behaviors. A majority of participants admitted to texting and talking on the phone while driving late at night and on the freeways.

While these behaviors are risky, the RED program also intended to increase awareness about speeding hazards and drinking and driving.

The six-hour program included a site visit to the hospital, where health care staffers talked about their experience with crash victims.

Results from the program

While the data from the study is inconclusive, Baylor researchers noted an increase in teen awareness when it came to peer influence on drinking and driving, as well as speeding hazards. In continuation, researchers found that the program got more parents involved, which is an important aspect in monitoring risky driving behaviors at home.

Reality-based programs such as RED are being offered by insurers, hospitals, government agencies and private companies across the country. There’s no quick fix when it comes to combating risky behaviors in teen drivers. However, combined efforts from educators, parents and peers could yield great results.

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