AAA Study Reveals Teen Distracted Driving Statistics

Oklahoma City car accident attorneys have long known that the leading cause of auto accidents is distracted driving.  Now, a study sponsored by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals some specific statistics about teen drivers and distracted driving. The study, entitled Distracted Driving Among Newly Licensed Teen Drivers, was conducted by the UNC Highway Safety Research Office.  Researchers placed a video camera into the cars of 50 families with newly licensed teen drivers and analyzed nearly 8,000 clips from those teen drivers' first six months of unsupervised driving. According to the study, the most common distractions for teen drivers included:

  • Using cell phones
  • Texting
  • Reaching for things
  • Grooming
Those particular results are not surprising to Oklahoma City auto accident lawyers, as they are the top sources of distraction among all drivers, not just teens.  However, the study revealed some other statistics that may be used to educate young drivers and their parents, helping to develop safety measures that can minimize the risk of an accident caused by distracted driving. The study reveals that electronic use is the leading source of distraction among teen drivers, demonstrated in seven percent of all video clips analyzed.  Teen girls were twice as likely to use electronics while driving as teen boys.  According to the study, electronic use while driving increases as teen drivers get older; presumably, as they get more comfortable behind the wheel, they feel more comfortable multi-tasking, engaging in all distractions at a higher rate than younger drivers. Female teen drivers were ten percent more likely than male teen drivers to engage in distracted driving, being fifty percent more likely to reach for something and twenty five percent more likely to eat or drink while driving.  Teen boys, however, were more likely to turn around in their seats or to communicate with people outside the vehicle.  Overall, distracted driving was evidenced in fifteen percent of the analyzed clips. Perhaps the most telling statistic involves teen driving behavior in the presence of passengers.  When a parent or adult passenger was in the car, distracted driving decreased.  Having multiple teen passengers resulted in much greater incidents of loud conversation or horseplay than having only one teen passenger. Drivers were three times more likely to take their eyes off the road when using an electronic device, as compared to two and a half times more likely to look away during other distractions.  When using an electronic device, the drivers' eyes were off the road for a full second longer than in other types of distraction.  During that one second, a car travelling at 65 miles per hour will cover the length of a basketball court, demonstrating the need for drivers to keep their eyes on the road at all times. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety hopes that the Distracted Driving Among Newly Licensed Teen Drivers study will lead to safety measures and risk management that can lessen the number of serious car accidents--currently the leading cause of death among teenagers. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, compensation for your injuries may be available.  To find an car accident lawyer in Oklahoma City, contact us today.

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