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Study: Teens prone to risky behavior and thrill seeking

It is no secret that drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 are involved in far too many accidents on southern Minnesota roads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that legal drivers under the age of 20 are at a high risk for injury in motor vehicle wreck. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in America. New research indicates that the risks that teen driver's face behind the wheel may include more than just their inexperience.

The Need For Excitement Peaks At 19 -- Before Self Regulation Fully Kicks In

Most parents of adolescent children know that kids seem to engage in risky behavior and rarely can provide a logical reason for their antics. A recent study that included more than 5000 people between the ages of 10 and 30 suggests that the teen brain is wired to seek excitement. The researchers say that teens in all 11 countries across Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas share similar desires for thrill seeking that peaks at the age of 19. At the same time, the parts of the brain that engage to provide self-regulation does not reach full-development until young adults are in their mid-20s.

The research shows that cultural influences do play a role in helping teens to avoid risk, despite their brains being hard-wired to seek excitement. However, kids still can make risky choices when confronted with unexpected situations. In the United States, most parents are familiar with the concept of peer pressure. However, the researchers say that when confronted with the unexpected, a teen may make the choice, at least in part, due to how their brain is wired.

Talking To Teen Drivers Can Make A Difference

Notably, the researchers say that speaking with teens can make a difference. Discussions involving hypothetical situations can provide a teen with a background to reduce the number of situations that may be unexpected - especially when teens go out for the evening unsupervised for a sleep over or for a party at a friend's house. Teaching children how to make decisions is important for keeping them safe.

Risky driving can include a wide variety of behaviors. Texting behind the wheel, taking risks on dark roads in the southeastern Minnesota bluffs and driving after drinking are all risky behaviors that concern parents.

Still -- Accidents Can Happen -- Learn Your Rights

Accidents happen. If the negligence of another was involved in causing an injury accident, parents need to understand their rights and legal options to protect their children into the future. When a child is injured while riding as a passenger with a friend, parents may not understand how to address the issues with the neighbors. A personal injury lawyer can review the details and provide guidance on the potential options for obtaining compensation to protect the financial future of an accident victim.

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