Teenagers most at risk of distracted driving crashes
Teenagers with relatively new driver’s licenses are most at-risk for getting into a distraction-related car accident, according to a new study.
Research published in The New England Journal of Medicine focused on driving-related distractions among both teenagers and adults. Scientists analyzed 52 teenagers with new driver’s licenses from the age of 16. Then they analyzed more than 100 adults with an average age of 20 and few years’ experience driving.
The findings showed that engaging in distracting behaviors increased risk for car accidents more among teenagers than among the adults. Distracting activity included the following: talking on the phone, texting, looking at a roadside object, eating and reaching for an object. Using a method involving cameras, sensors and a computer, researchers found that beginning teen drivers were almost four times more likely than adults to get into an accident when texting and almost eight times more likely when reaching for a phone or other object.
Researchers said that people of all ages, but especially new drivers, should be mindful to not be distracted by people, technology or other behaviors when behind the wheel. They recommend that parents model safe driving practice to reinforce those behaviors in teenagers.