Teen Brain Development and Car AccidentsNovember 1, 2019
Car accidents are a leading cause of death for teens in this country. A new study in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that brain development may explain why some teen drivers are more likely to be involved in a car accident compared to older drivers. The study analyzes working memory in teen drivers and the impact it has on their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
According to the scientists involved in the study, teens develop working memory skills at different rates. Teens who develop these skills slower than others are more likely to be involved in a car accident compared to other teens who develop at an average rate. Brain development has a major impact on how teens learn to drive, said lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Spending time behind the wheel is certainly important, but testing working memory skills can help us gain a better understanding of a teen’s true driving ability. If they could test working memory and identify teen drivers who are at greater risk of being in a car accident, they could prevent serious accidents, and potentially save lives.
Significance of Working Memory
Working memory falls under the category of executive functions, which are the higher-level thought processes that allow us to think before we act. Executive function has a significant impact on driving skills. However, in many teenage drivers, the executive function is not yet fully developed, increasing the likelihood that they may make impulsive decisions, take chances, and feel invincible. An underdeveloped executive function may also make teens less able to multitask effectively. All these factors can negatively impact a teen’s driving skills and increase the chances of accidents, particularly those associated with speeding and distracted driving.
The research team observed 118 teens, aged 11 to 13, years for a period of seven years. Over the course of the study, they conducted surveys that measured working memory over time. They also asked the teens to document the number of accidents they had when they reached the legal driving age. Researchers found that the teens who had a slower than average working memory were in more car accidents. The teens whose working memory was more developed were less likely to report being in a car accident. The results of the study suggested that routine assessments of teens’ working memories can help identify teens who may be at higher risk for being in a car accident. This information can also help safety officials develop adaptive interventions, such as driving aids and additional training.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Car Accidents Involving Teen Drivers
If you were seriously injured in a car accident involving a teen driver, contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will strive to obtain the maximum financial compensation you deserve based on the severity of your injuries. Our dedicated team will not stop fighting for you until you are completely satisfied. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
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