It’s no secret that cell phones, passengers, and even the radio distract many drivers, and that these distractions often causes serious accidents. But did you know that 6 out of 10 collisions or other incidents caused by a teenage driver were due to distracted driving? Today’s teens are more likely than ever before to stop paying attention to the road until it’s too late.
The number one source of distraction for teenaged drivers is other passengers. Interacting with other passengers caused 15% of the 1700 accidents that were viewed as part of the study that determined the 6 out of 10 collisions statistic cited above. Many states, including Indiana, have laws preventing new drivers from carrying passengers in their car for a probationary period after getting a permit or license.
In the same study, cell phones were a close second behind other passengers as the cause of distraction that led to an accident. In 12% of the cases they reviewed, using a cell phone was part of the teenager’s issue. That includes calling, texting, and other uses, even taking pictures or checking apps.
In the videos the AAA Foundation reviewed of crashes, they saw that teenagers were distracted by their phones for 4.1 of the 6 seconds before the crash, on average. More than half the time, the teens didn’t even notice or react to the approaching incident by steering or braking—they were still looking at the phone.
Internal and External Objects
Looking at objects inside the vehicle was the cause of distraction in 10% of cases, while things outside the vehicle were a distraction in 9% of cases. This is a wide range of things that could be distracting, from the burger a teen just got at the drive thru to a pedestrian on the sidewalk.
Radios are another major distraction for teens, even if they aren’t really radios in the literal sense. Whether they’re actually changing frequencies on a station or trying to select a different playlist from an in-car device (like an iPod or phone), changing music caused 8% of the incidents the AAA Foundation reviewed. Grooming and reaching for an object were two more notable distractions, both at 6%.
Have you been injured in a motor vehicle accident? Christie Farrell Lee & Bell has an experienced team of car accident attorneys who can help you explore your options.