Distraction plays larger role in teen accidents than originally believed

A new study discovered that teenage distracted driving is a larger problem than previous estimates originally suggested

Many teenagers in Texas are careless when they drive and fail to pay full attention to the road in front of them, raising their risk of being involved in an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that distracted driving is a factor in approximately 14 percent of auto accidents involving teenage drivers. However, new research produced by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that distraction could play a role in four times as many teenage car accidents.

Common sources of distraction

Researchers analyzed video footage that they collected from approximately 1,700 teenage drivers. After looking at this in-vehicle footage, they found that six seconds before a crash occurred, the teenage driver would be distracted 58 percent of the time. Although there were many different forms of inattentive driving that the teenagers participated in, the leading sources of distraction in this study included:

  • Interacting with other passengers - this was a factor in 15 percent of the motor vehicle collisions.
  • Cellphone use - this form of distraction was present in 12 percent of the accidents. When the teenage drivers in this study looked at their cellphone, their eyes were averted away from the road for 4.1 seconds on average.
  • Looking at something inside of the car - this type of distraction played a role in 10 percent of the motor vehicle collisions.

Not only did the researchers find that cellphone use played a role in many of the accidents they reviewed, but they also found that when the teenagers used a cellphone, they failed to steer or brake appropriately before the onset of a collision. This finding suggests that cellphone use, compared with others types of distraction, could have a negative effect on a teenage driver's ability to react appropriately during an emergency driving situation.

Distraction is a problem for drivers of all ages

Distracted driving is not just a problem for teenage drivers, but an issue for drivers of all ages in Texas as well. For this reason, distracted driving continues to contribute to many fatal and injurious accidents in the state. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 100,825 car accidents that occurred on Texas roads in 2014 involved distracted driving. These collisions caused 468 fatalities and 3,214 serious injuries.

Those who survive a distracted driving accident in Texas may suffer from injuries that prohibit them from living a normal daily life. If you were injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, reach out to an attorney to determine what you can do to protect your best legal interests at this time.

Keywords: teen accidents, distraction,auto accidents.