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Teens and Distracted Driving Accidents: A Look at the Risks

Aug 11, 2016 | Car Accidents, Personal Injury

CBS News reported recently on the tremendous risks associated with distracted driving amongst teenagers. Unfortunately, as many as 60 percent of all teen driving crashes today happen because of driver distraction.

CBS’s article on the issue was prompted by the fact that the University of Iowa and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently conducted a large-scale study of teen drivers over an eight-year period. The goal of the study was to get a better understanding of some of the things which cause young people to lose focus on the road.  The study helps to explain why so many teen collisions happen due to distractions.

When teens harm passengers or any other motorists on the road, New York City injury attorneys can be consulted by victims to get help pursuing a claim against the young person who caused the accident to happen.

Top Risks of Teen Distracted Driving

The AAA and Iowa study involved using dashboard cameras and other methods to study teen drivers over an eight-year period of time. More than 2,000 severe collisions were identified and included in the study.  The research revealed that distracted driving is unquestionably high-risk behavior. The study also revealed some of the top factors causing teen driver distraction.

Teens were, unfortunately, found to be more likely than other demographic groups to use their phones while driving in order to send or receive text messages, or to use Social Media websites. An AAA spokesperson indicated the high rates of teen distracted driving using phones, texting, or social media is: “particularly scary because they’re actually looking down, taking their eyes off the road.”

Although cell phones were found to be a big risk factor for teens included in the study, the use of a phone in any form was not actually the top cause of distracted driving. The top cause of distracted driving for teenagers was identified as being other passengers. In total, an estimated 15 percent of teen driver accidents were caused by other passengers in the vehicle with the teen driver. By comparison, only around 12 percent of teen driving accidents were caused by the teen driver either talking on a cell phone or texting on a cell phone.

Teens are both more likely to be distracted with fellow peers in the car with them, and are also more likely to engage in high risk behavior when they have other teenaged passengers in the vehicle.   Parents and teens need to be aware of the risk of having many young people traveling in a car together, especially during the period of the summer months which runs from Memorial Day and Labor Day. This period of time is called the “100 Deadliest Days’ because of the elevated risk of teen driving accidents when young people are out of school.

If parents and young drivers commit to ensuring that no teen is in the car with multiple distracting passengers and no teen will use electronics while driving, hopefully the risk of accidents during the 100 Deadliest Days and beyond, can be reduced. If you believe you’ve been harmed by a distracted driver, contact Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff to learn more about your rights and options under the law.