Teen drivers talking to a friend or texting while driving on a Los Angeles street is more of a problem than you might have thought. In a recent study, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA) found that distracted driving plays a much greater role in teenager accidents and deaths than government studies previously found. This also puts other California residents in greater risk of getting in an accident.
Key Findings of the Study
The study analyzed almost 1,700 dashcam videos taken from inside crashed vehicles of teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 years old. The researchers focused on drivers’ actions during the last six seconds before the vehicle crashed. The majority of the accidents were caused by driving too fast, following too closely, and failing to yield. The study found surprising results regarding distracted driving:
- Distracted driving was a major cause of 58 percent of crashes.
- Interacting with one or more passengers was a major cause of 15 percent of crashes.
- Cellphone usage was a major cause of 12 percent of crashes.
Other common distractions included looking at something inside or outside the vehicle, singing, eating, and grooming.
The researchers noted that when teens were using their cellphones at the time of the accident, their eyes were off the road for four of the six seconds before the crash. More than half the teens failed to react at all by braking or steering away to prevent the accident.
The AAA results are in contrast to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s estimation that distractions cause 14 percent of teen crashes, with seven percent involving cellphone usage. AAA researchers are urging states to pass stricter laws on teen cellphone usage while driving and limit the number of passengers allowed in the vehicle to prevent more teenager crashes.
Have you had any experiences with a teen driver who was distracted by talking to passengers or was using his cellphone? Tell us about it in the comments.