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Research shows teens are wired to engage in risky driving behaviors

It may not come as a surprise that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 have a significantly higher risk for being in a car accident than any other age group. However, recent research indicates that inexperience behind the wheel may not be the only reason behind the number of accidents across Missouri that involve adolescents and young adults.

Laurence Steinberg, a professor of psychology at Temple University, says that adolescents are wired to seek excitement, while the part of the brain that provides self regulation does not reach maturity until people are in their mid 20s. The peak of the desire for risk taking generally occurs at age 19. The research, published in Developmental Science, involved more than 5000 individuals in 11 separate countries shows that teens desire excitement and engage in risk taking behaviors before the brain's ability to regulate risk develops sufficiently to mitigate risks. While it is possible in individual cases for parents to help to guide their children to reduce risks, accidents continue to devastate families.

Understanding Rights After An Accident Is Critical

When a group of teens head out after school for an event, meet to blow off steam on the weekend or engage in any activities with friends, and a car accident destroys the evening, parents are frequently left reeling without guidance about how to get their children the full medical care they need. When friends and neighbors are involved in an accident, parents know that a child needs medical attention, but may not understand their rights to get compensation to protect the financial security of their injured child.

It is important to note that accidents do happen. Parents may believe that nothing can be done when teens are injured. It is critical for parents to understand that legal action may be necessary. When a child is in the hospital it is difficult to step back and consider the potential long-term needs that may be needed. Consulting with doctors is vitally important. At the same time, a phone call to a personal injury lawyer can help parents understand their legal rights and further protect their children if negligence was involved in causing the accident.

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