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Audio Briefing: NICHD Scientists Identify Risk Factors for Teen Driving Accidents

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Newly licensed teen drivers have higher crash rates than do older drivers and the teens are much more likely to engage in risky maneuvers that increase the gravitational force on their vehicles, reported a team of scientists from the NIH and other institutions. Publishing in the American Journal of Public Health, the researchers were led by Bruce Simons-Morton, Ed.D, M.P.H., Chief, of the Prevention Research Branch in the NICHD’s Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research. Although the risky behaviors declined shortly after the teens received their licenses, the behaviors were much more prevalent than they were for the adult drivers in the study.

These risky maneuvers consist of rapid acceleration, braking late, and swerving abruptly. In a recent audio news briefing for reporters, Dr. Simons-Morton explained the study in detail.

Based on prior research, Dr. Simons-Morton explained that parents can help protect their teens by placing these limits on their driving:

  • Limiting teen driving at night
  • Limiting their driving with multiple teen passengers
  • Limiting their driving on high speed roads

The audio briefing is available at: (MP3 - 2.22 MB)

A transcript of the briefing is available at:


About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute’s Web site at


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