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Shock value examined in driver's education classes

Most Georgia parents and educators realize the incredibly high stakes when teens start exercising driving privileges. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. In addition to inexperience, part of the reason behind the statistics is believed to be a relative lack of awareness regarding the risks and potential consequences of poor driving practices. A recent study examines the impact of shocking teens into awareness and safer driving habits.

Researchers at Baylor University began with statistics showing that adolescents are more likely to drive recklessly or while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs than the population as a whole. Traditional teaching methods have been unable to substantially diminish these trends, so a pilot driver education program took teens to visit intensive care units, emergency rooms and hospital morgues in an effort to raise the level of awareness and reduce risky driving behaviors. The program enrollees were students referred by courts and educators for disciplinary action. A questionnaire completed by participants in the program identified risky driving behaviors from the preceding 30 days. Two months after completion of the program, a follow-up questionnaire was given to evaluate the program's impact on actual driving behaviors.

The most frequent risky driving behaviors identified were texting and talking on their phones while driving. The follow-up questionnaire issued two months after completion of the six-hour program revealed that students were more aware of what constitutes risky behavior, but the actual actions were not impacted. Researchers are now debating whether a longer and more immersive interactive experience would provide results beyond simply raising awareness about unsafe practices.

Safety on the roadways is an issue that impacts everyone. When unsafe practices create a motor vehicle accident, consequences are often far reaching. Consulting a qualified injury lawyer may help accident victims identify and implement plans to deal with the damages from unsafe driving behaviors.

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