Study Looks at Virginia Teen Drivers and Accidents

By Peter DePaolis

Researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) wanted to find out why teenage drivers have more car accidents than adults do. So, the NIH researchers looked at teen and adult drivers in Virginia and found out that g-forces are a factor in new-driver mistakes among teenagers.

In a story at, researchers studied 42 Virginia teen drivers and 55 sets of parents who drive the same car. The study tracked the subjects for 18 months between 2006 and 2008. The results showed that teen drivers experienced significantly higher crash rates than their parents. The teens had 37 crashes and 242 near-crashes in the study period. By contrast, the parents experienced 2 car crashes and 32 near-crashes in the same period.

The NIH researchers said that the elevated gravitational forces (g-forces) created by sharp and high-speed turning and quick acceleration are a factor in the car accidents. Data collected in the study showed that the teens engaged in sharp turns up to 30 more times than the adult drivers. The younger drivers lack experience in how to maintain control of the car, according to one researcher. The study also showed that even one year into driving, teenagers were still practicing risky driving habits.

Moreover, when accidents are the result of a teen driver’s unsafe speeds or sudden acceleration the g-forces involved in automobile collisions are likewise increased. This can lead to serious injuries to the teenage driver, their passengers, as well as the drivers and passengers of other vehicles involved.

It is important to monitor your teenage driver’s driving habits to minimize the risk of accidents. If you are the victim injured by a teenage driver’s negligence you are entitled to money damages from the child and in some limited circumstances their parents. If you or someone you know is injured as the result of a teenage driver’s recklessness, such as drag racing, punitive damages in addition to traditional compensatory damages can be sought in a civil lawsuit against the negligent teen.

If you are involved in an accident, be sure to immediately seek legal advice to better understand your rights and legal remedies before you discuss settlement with an insurance company.

Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP

Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia Injury Attorneys

Approved by attorney Thomas McWeeny

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.