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Michael Elliott
Michael Elliott

Virtual Test Forecasts Crash Risk in New Teen Drivers

Mirage News 10/16/23

Philadelphia, October 16, 2023 – New research published today by the journal Pediatrics found that driving skills measured at the time of licensure on a virtual driving assessment (VDA), which exposes drivers to common serious crash scenarios, helps predict crash risk in newly licensed young drivers.

This study, conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) with colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan, brings the research community one step closer to identifying which skill deficits put young new drivers at higher risk for crashes. With this cutting-edge information, more personalized interventions can be developed to improve the driving skills that prevent crashes.

While drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 only make up about 5% of all drivers on the road, they are involved in approximately 12% of all vehicle crashes and 8.5% of fatal crashes. The time of greatest crash risk is in the months right after these young drivers receive their license, largely due to deficits in driving skills.

However, many of these newly licensed drivers do avoid crashes. The challenge for policymakers, clinicians, and families has been identifying which drivers are at increased risk of crashing during the learning phase before they drive on their own. Early identification of at-risk drivers offers the opportunity to intervene with training and other resources known to help prevent crashes, making the roads safer for everyone.

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