A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that distraction in teen drivers is more common than previously thought. The foundation analyzed approximately 1,700 videos that showed teen drivers in the moments before they were involved in an accident.
They found the distractions caused almost 60% of the moderate to severe accidents.
Lytx Inc. is a company that provides programs to drivers hoping to improve their driving behavior and decreasing collisions. Lytx gave over 6,000 videos to AAA to view and in 1,691 videos, there were "crashes or hard-braking events."
Many of the accidents included rear-end collisions and running off the road.
So if teens are more distracted and more at risk for causing an accident, what are the distractions?
The study shows that the most common forms of distractions for teens were talking to, or paying attention to, passengers in the vehicle. It also showed that using a cellphone played a major role in accidents and that included talking, reading and sending messages.
In past studies, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration thought distraction was a factor in only about 14% of all teen driver crashes. The AAA Foundation now has evidence that teen drivers are much more distracted before a crash than ever thought at 58%.
Traffic safety groups including AAA have discussed licensing requirements that would restrict the amount of passengers in a car if there was a teen driver. They have also discussed changes to laws that would restrict or prohibit cellphone use by teen drivers.
Because teen drivers have the highest crash rate of any other age group, it is important for parents to talk to their teens about the dangers of using their cellphone while driving and that too many passengers in a car is very distracting and unsafe.
Many accidents could be avoided if teen drivers were alert, paying attention to the road, and not distracted by their phone or others in the car. By taking away the distractions, less accidents would occur for these drivers, bringing down the 963,000 crashes that occurred in 2013 for drivers age 16-19 years old.
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