While progress has been made in reducing the number of teens killed in motor vehicle crashes, crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for teens in the United States.1 The high crash rate for teens is owing in large part to their lack of driving experience.2,3 Continued identification of specific characteristics of teens that lead to elevated crash risk can inform interventions for high-risk subgroups. This month’s issue of JAMA Pediatrics includes a study by Ouimet et al4 that examined the association between cortisol reactivity and subsequent occurrence of crash and near-crash (CNC) events among newly licensed teens. As part of the Naturalistic Teen Driving Study, salivary cortisol reactivity in response to a stress-inducing task was assessed at baseline in a sample of 42 healthy, typically developing 16-year-old participants, after which they drove instrumented vehicles for 18 months.
Durbin DR, Mirman J, Curry A. Enhancing Our Understanding of Teen-Driver Crashes. JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(6):511-512. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.5402