Distracted Teen Drivers Are Out Of Control: New AAA Study

Distraction a Factor in Six Out 10 Teen Crashes

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released results from its study of the causes of teen crashes this week and concluded that teen driving distraction is “even worse than we thought.” Researchers reviewed 1,700 videos taken from in-vehicle event recorders that caught the moments before teens crashed. They found that distraction was a factor in 60 percent of the moderate to severe teen auto accidents — four times previous estimates based upon police reports that relied upon drivers to admit they were distracted.

The nonprofit safety organization created a compilation of the final six seconds before teen accidents — a must see for teens who are new to driving — and for all drivers.

Common Teen Driver Distractions 

The AAA Foundation researchers determined that the use of an electronic mobile device — including texting, calling and other activities — diverted teen’s eyes from the road for over four of the final six seconds immediately preceding a wreck. In addition, teens using an electronic mobile device failed to react more than 50 percent of the time to an impending rear-end collision, meaning they did not steer or brake to avoid the crash and instead ran directly into the automobile.

Although cell phone use was high on the list of dangerous activities, teen driving also was affected by several other common distractions, including:

  • Interacting with passengers — 15 percent
  • Using a mobile phone — 12 percent
  • Looking at something that is inside the car — 10 percent
  • Looking at something that is outside the car — nine percent
  • Dancing and singing to music — eight percent
  • Grooming, such as brushing hair and applying makeup — six percent
  • Reaching for an object within the car — six percent

Texas Laws Reflects AAA Recommendations 

The AAA Foundation recommends that states enforce graduated driver licensing and distracted driving legislation to protect teens from the type of dangerous conduct found in the study. The Texas Graduated License Driver Program does, in fact, restrict the privileges of drivers younger than 18 years old, including:

  • Allowing only one non-family member passenger who is under age 21 in the car when the teen is driving
  • Limiting teen driving between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. to work, school or emergency purposes
  • Prohibiting all electronic device use, including hands-free cell phones, except for in an emergency

What Can You Do?

Parents have the opportunity to set a good example by avoiding distractions while they drive and by talking to teens about the dangers.

If you were injured by a distracted driver, however old he or she is, you should consult with a skilled personal injury attorney. Berenson Law Firm can help you throughout what can be a difficult and complicated process. Please call our Dallas-Fort Worth auto accident injury firm at 817-885-8000 for a free claims evaluation.


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