Distracted Teen Drivers a Mess
Worried about your teen causing a car accident from drinking too much? How about from being distracted too much? According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, distracted driving accounted for 58 percent of medium to severe wrecks involving teenagers, based on analysis of about 1,700 videos.
The study involved collaboration with the University of Iowa and Lytx™, Inc., maker of the Lytx DriveCam, which recorded all of the data using state-of-the-art technology. The analysis looked at the six seconds preceding the crashes and uncovered the following distractors, in order of prevalence.
- Passenger interaction
- Cell phone use (includes texting)
- Eyeing something inside the vehicle
- Eyeing something outside
- Singing or moving to music
- Reaching for something
Are teens learning from their parents that cell phone use while driving is crucial? (Many adults drive while yakking or texting.) The analysis revealed that when cell phone use led to an accident, the teens’ eyes were off the road for 4.1 seconds on average—out of that six seconds.
Funny, these same teens, if athletes, would never take their eyes off the ball during a game to text.
AAA wants new laws that ban cell phone use by driving teens and having more than one passenger—for the first half year of driving. Will a law be effective? How about making new teen drivers watch videos of the gruesome aftermath of fatal car accidents?
AAA recommends that parents teach safe driving practices. But HOW is open to interpretation. Dinnertime lectures aren’t enough. How about making kids view those grisly aftermath scenes?
AAA suggests a parent-teen driving agreement. This will make a teen feel more accountable. Another effective strategy is for the parents to practice what they preach.
If you’re a parent, ask yourself how often you take your eyes off the road to look at your kids while conversing. Practice “bi-tasking” (doing two things at once: keeping your eyes on the road while conversing), and your teens will less likely smash up the car as a result of passenger interaction.
In 2013 alone, says an article at newsroom.aaa.com, around 963,000 drivers 16 to 19 were in vehicular accidents. Fatalities totaled 2,865, and there were 383,000 injuries.