A recent landmark study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed the frightening truth about the rising numbers of teen drivers who are involved in texting-while-driving accidents. The increase in this type of car accident is occurring even though most states have enacted new laws imposing penalties for texting while driving, or restricting teen drivers from cell phone use.
TEEN DISTRACTED DRIVING IS GETTING WORSE
The study revealed that texting while driving, particularly for teen drivers, is getting worse – not better. The study focused on drivers aged 16-19, all of whom were participants in a teen driving program. This research raises very real concerns about teen driver safety – as well as for other drivers who are sharing the roadways with young drivers.
TEEN DRIVERS: THE HIGHEST CRASH RATE OF ANY DRIVER GROUP
The study employed in-vehicle event recorders that collected video, audio and other data, with the camera and data collection triggered when a driver suddenly brakes, engages in fast cornering or when the vehicle has been involved in an impact above a certain level of g-force.
The video data in the study allowed researchers to review the actions of the driver eight seconds prior to the impact, and four seconds after the in-vehicle system was triggered by an event. The study involved 6,842 in-vehicle videos, with 1,691 crashes evaluated in order to identify driver behavior prior to the collision.
The video research revealed:
THE TROUBLE WITH TEEN DRIVERS
It is easy to blame teen drivers for engaging in these dangerous driving behaviors, but such behaviors are often learned directly from parents. Driver experience is a critical point in the ability to act quickly under dangerous conditions, and parents generally have decades of driving experience.
Parents who talk on a cellphone while driving, chat with passengers, or fail to follow the rules of the road are contributing to the problem by setting a bad example. Parents, when driving with their children, must put down the phone and focus on the road ahead if they hope to teach their children to drive safely.
TYPES OF ACCIDENTS: TEEN DRIVERS
The same study revealed the types of accidents that drivers aged 16 to 19 were most likely to cause:
- 4% of crashes were the result of recognition errors.
- 76% of crashes were the result of inattention or extraneous behaviors.
- 9% of crashes were failing to yield right of way at a stop sign.
- 7% of crashes involved loss of control of the vehicle.
- 5% of single-vehicle accidents involved driving too fast.
The behaviors that contributed to these teen driver crashes were:
- Attending to passengers (40.6%)
- Cell phone use (13.5%)
- Looking at a cell phone (45.9%)
- Drivers engaged in non-driving activities (65%)
INJURED IN AN ACCIDENT WITH A TEEN DRIVER?
If you or a loved one has been injured or died in a vehicle accident involving a teen driver, there is a high likelihood that distracted driving played a large part in what happened.