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J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2012 Oct;73(4 Suppl 3):S267-72. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e31826b00f4.

The reality of teenage driving: the results of a driving educational experience for teens in the juvenile court system.

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  • 1University of Massachusetts Memorial Children’s Medical Center, Sudbury, Massachusetts, USA. mannom@gmail.com



In the United States, one third of all deaths in teens are a result of motor vehicle crashes, accounting for 6,000 deaths annually. Injury Free Coalition for Kids-Worcester in collaboration with Worcester Juvenile Court has developed an interactive program for first-time teenaged driving offenders, Reality Intensive Driver Education (Teen RIDE). This full-day program at the trauma center provides a realistic exposure to the consequences of risky driving behaviors. This article examined the driving offense recidivism rates for Teen RIDE participants versus a comparison group (CG).


The intervention group (IG) consists of teenagers between 13 years and 17 years who have been arrested for the first time for a serious driving offense and are sentenced by a Worcester Juvenile Court Judge or Magistrate to the Teen RIDE program. They are required to attend the program as a condition of probation, so attendance is mandatory. Each participant in the IG completed the program and was tracked for driving reoffenses for 6 months after completion of the course. The CG consists of also first-time driving offenders. The CG was matched with the IG with respect to age (13-17 years), sex, and offense type. Springfield, Massachusetts, serves as the site for recruitment of the CG, since it is demographically similar to Worcester but 60 mi away. Students in the CG had no exposure to this program. Each CG member was also tracked for 6 months after arrest.


The recidivism rate for Teen RIDE participants 6 months after the course is 6% with 0% reoffending more than once. The CG has a recidivism rate of 56% 6 months after the arrest and 14% have more than one reoffense. The CG is 13.062 (4.296-39.713) times more likely to reoffend, and this is significant (p < 0.001).


The Teen RIDE program provides an impactful exposure of the consequences of risky driving behaviors to teenaged participants. In addition, Teen RIDE participants are significantly less likely to reoffend after completion of the course.


Therapeutic study, level III.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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