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Distracted Driving Remains a Problem for Teens

Uploaded by: Elisa Greco on 07/05/2012

Author: Julia Brenner

Publication Date: 7/5/2012

Publication Source: TransActions Vol. 11 No. 3, 2012

Summary: According to a new in-car video study released by the AAA Foundation, teen drivers are more likely to to engage in driving distractions. This article discusses the study further.


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Distracted Driving Remains a Problem for Teens

By Julia Brenner


teenpicOlder teenagers are more likely than 16-year-olds to engage in driving distractions, such as the use of electronic devices and personal grooming, according to a new in-car video study released by the AAA Foundation. This suggests a rapid change in behavior as teens get more comfortable behind the wheel. While the study shows that the most commonly observed distracted driving activity for teen drivers is use of electronic devices, other common distractions, such as eating or drinking, adjusting controls and reaching for objects, prove problematic as well.

"Cell phones, texting, personal grooming and reaching for things in the car were among the most common distracting activities found when cameras were put in new teen drivers’ cars," says AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger. "This new study provides the best view we have had about how and when teens engage in distracted driving behaviors believed to contribute to making car crashes the leading cause of death for teenagers."

During this study, researchers at the UNC Highway Safety Research Center identified the frequency and consequences of multiple distracted driver behaviors and distracting conditions among teens during high g-force maneuvers, such as swerving, hard braking and rapid acceleration. Electronic device usage was seen in 7% of the video clips analyzed, while 15% of the clips showed teens engaging in some other form of potentially distracting behavior. Videos show that females are nearly twice as likely as males to use an electronic device while driving; however, males are roughly twice as likely to turn around in their seats while driving and are also more likely to communicate with people outside of the vehicle.

In addition, the study finds that passengers influence driver behavior. Loud conversation and horseplay lead drivers to have much higher incident rates; however, these potentially distracting activities significantly decrease with parents or other adults present.

All of these distracted driving behaviors are linked with instances of teens looking away from the roadway. According to the findings, teen drivers using electronic devices take their eyes off the road for a full second longer than drivers not using them. "A second may not seem like much, but at 65 mph, a car travels the length of a basketball court in a single second," Kissinger says. "That extra second can mean the difference between managed risk and tragedy for any driver."

For more information, visit www.AAAFoundation .org or www.teendriving.aaa.com.

Julia Brenner is a communications specialist at ASSE.

Keywords: distracted driving,distraction,driving safety,highway traffic safety,texting,transportation performance measures,transportation safety,traffic accident or incident,Transportation Practice Specialty,teen safety,cell phone,driver safety,driving habits,driver inattention,driver behavior,teen driver safety,driver assessment,driver age


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