Timothy J. Casey Attorney at Law
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Hospital tours used to raise teen awareness of unsafe driving

Arizona parents with youthful drivers in the family are likely aware that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. Teens are more prone to reckless behaviors behind the wheel than any other demographic. Statistics show that teens are more likely to text, drive at excess speeds and use mind-altering substances than other age groups. Because of these facts, insurance companies and other groups interested in saving teen lives are trying some novel approaches.

Researchers at Baylor University in Texas partnered with the court system, a local hospital, and educators to identify teen drivers headed for disciplinary action. The teens were given the option of participating in a one-day project designed to raise awareness of the potential consequences of unsafe driving behaviors. The hope is that increased awareness will result in safer habits behind the wheel. Students spent time in a classroom being educated on the physical realities of driving distracted. For example, a vehicle traveling 55 mph will cover the length of a football field in the 5 seconds required to check a text message on a mobile device.

Students in the study also toured hospital emergency rooms, intensive care units and even a hospital morgue. The visits and conversations with doctors and nurses regarding common consequences of unsafe driving habits appear to have raised the level of awareness and recognition of their own unsafe behaviors. Ninety percent of participants admitted to texting or talking on the phone while driving within 30 days of the program. Unfortunately, a follow-up questionnaire two months after the study seems to indicate the increased awareness did not translate to safer habits as most respondents admitted to continuing unsafe behaviors. Researchers are now considering whether an extended program would mean better results.

Regardless of the reason for a crash, an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney may be able to provide valuable insight and guidance regarding the insurance claims process. Accident victims might obtain peace of mind regarding the process by working with a qualified advocate.

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