Study of Teen Drivers
A recent and fairly comprehensive study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, confirmed what we already suspected about teen drivers and the reasons they cause car accidents at such a high rate. What was unexpected, however, is just how bad the problem actually is.
The study incorporated video observation and technology of nearly 1,700 videos, thus enhancing its accuracy. The study showed that 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe car accidents caused by teens are a result of being distracted. While prior police reports and studies showed that distractions were a significant cause of teen collisions, 6 out of 10 is 4 times more than the prior studies estimated.
According to the new study, topping the list of how teens are most often distracted is interacting with other inside the car, followed closely by cell phone usage. One might assume that cell phone usage includes texting and other similar items involving a cell phone.
When cell phone usage was involved, teens focused on their cell phones (and not on the road ahead) for 4.1 seconds out of the 6 seconds prior to the collision. The research also found that teens using cell phones more often than not do not have enough time to react and apply the brakes before the impact.
If you are a teen or have one in your home, we recommend that you do everything you can to set rules about cell phone usage (i.e., calling, texting, emailing, internet surfing, etc.) while driving. You might consider putting the phone in the rear of the car or in the glove box with explicit instructions to pull over before using the cell phone. Let everyone know that this is a rule by which you live (literally).
Have a discussion with your teen and even consider showing them real-life video accounts (readily available on the internet) of the horrific results of distracted teen driving collisions, many of which involve fatalities and life-crippling injuries. Also, set a good example yourself.
The law is getting tougher and tougher on drivers, especially teen drivers, that cause car accidents as a result of distractions caused by cell phones. Help your teen, your family, and others to stop these preventable collisions.