Study: Distracted Driving Accounts For Nearly 6 In 10 Teen Crashes

25 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AAA: Distracted Driving Responsible For 6 In 10 Crashes Involving Teens.

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found significant evidence that distracted driving is a much more serious problem than previously known. “The unprecedented video analysis finds that distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes, which is four times as many as official estimates based on police reports,” the study finds. WASHINGTON – Distractions – especially talking with passengers and using cellphones – play a far greater role in car crashes involving teen drivers than has been previously understood, according to compelling new evidence cited by safety researchers. In their study, researchers analyzed the six seconds leading up to a crash in nearly 1,700 videos of teen drivers taken from in-vehicle event recorders. Researchers from the AAA Motor Club examined nearly 6,900 videos from families who had cameras mounted both on their teen drivers, and on the front windshield, as part of an education program.

The leading distractions were interactions with other passengers (occurring before 15 percent of crashes), mobile phone use (12 percent of crashes) and looking at something inside the car (10 percent of crashes). The study is unusual because researchers rarely have access to crash videos that clearly show what drivers were doing in the seconds before impact as well as what was happening on the road. AAA Michigan Public Affairs Director Susan Hiltz said the research confirms that passengers and cell phones are the two most prevalent distractions for teen drivers involved in crashes. “The risk factors are compounded by the fact that young drivers have less experience behind the wheel,” Hiltz said in a statement. “It’s vital that parents take an active role in educating their teens about distracted driving. AAA was able to examine more than 6,842 videos from cameras mounted in vehicles, showing both the driver and the simultaneous view out the windshield.

Additionally, teenagers using their phones before a crash did not brake or steer before the collision, suggesting that cellphones have a serious effect on teen drivers’ reaction times compared to other distractions. The foundation got the videos from Lytx Inc., which offers programs that use video to coach drivers in improving their behavior and reducing collisions. Currently, 33 states have graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws that prevent cell phone use for teens and 18 states have passenger restrictions meeting AAA’s recommendations, the group noted. GDL laws provide teen drivers the opportunity to gain practical experience by gradually granting privileges during higher-risk situations, like driving at night or with peer passengers.

In one video released by AAA, a teenage boy is seen trying to navigate a turn on a rain-slicked road with one hand on the wheel and a cellphone held to his ear in the other hand. AAA resources for parents and teens include information on how to create a parent-teen driving agreement and the organization’s driver education program.

The videos provide “indisputable evidence that teen drivers are distracted in a much greater percentage of crashes than we previously realized,” said Peter Kissinger, the foundation’s president and CEO. AAA and other traffic safety groups who previewed the findings said the study shows states should review their licensing requirements to restrict the number of passengers in cars driven by teens and change their laws to prohibit cellphone use by teen drivers. “The findings of the AAA Report confirm what safety groups have suspected for a long time – distraction is more severe and more common in teen driver crashes than previously found in government data,” said Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

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