Teen drivers in North Carolina and across the country may be at particular risk for car accidents in the first several months after receiving their drivers’ licenses, according to on study. During the first three months of solo driving after receiving a license, teens are eight times more likely to have a crash or nearly miss an accident in comparison with the last three months before getting their licenses. During that period with a learner’s permit, they must drive with an adult in the car as well.

Participants in the study were monitored from their initial approval for a learner’s permit until the end of their first year as a newly licensed driver. Dashcams were installed in each car to track both the driver and the road and use software to record braking and speed. The study showed that in their first months as licensed drivers, teens were more likely to speed up too quickly and brake too suddenly, leading to car crashes or near-accidents.

Researchers said that because an adult is always present throughout the learner’s permit period, there are some skills that teen drivers do not truly master until they can drive solo. They said that more work should be done to develop ways for teens to learn how to drive safely without putting themselves and others on the road at risk. Various states are seeking to change laws to extend the learning period or create stepped-up licenses to lower the accident risk.

When poorly-trained teen drivers get behind the wheel, other people on the roads could be at risk. People who have been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligent or dangerous driving might be able to work with a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation for their damages, including lost wages and medical bills.