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In a nationwide survey of almost 1,400 teens published last month in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention, 1 in 4 who were 18 and hadn’t obtained a license cited the hassle of licensing requirements as a reason.

Masten said more research is needed to determine why the fatal crash rate among 18-year-olds rose and whether an increase also occurred in nonfatal crashes.

The study confirms that graduated licensing “is doing what it was intended to do _ prevent novice drivers from being in high-risk conditions before they’re ready for it,” said Dr. Flaura Winston, a pediatrician and traffic injury expert at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. But the results also show there’s a need for strategies for the novice independent driver at any age, she said.

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Online:

JAMA: http://www.jama.ama-assn.org

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: http://www.nhtsa.gov

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AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/LindseyTanner