Distracted teenage drivers pose a real danger on the road, but the danger may be even more serious than previously assumed.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study of teenage drivers and found that 58 percent of the crashes in which they were involved had distraction as a factor. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration previously estimated distraction was a factor in 14 percent of teenager car accidents.
Foundation researchers analyzed almost 1,700 videos of teen drivers captured by cameras in their vehicles. They calculated the 58 percent figure by reviewing the six seconds leading up to each crash. Researchers further determined distracted drivers were involved in 76 percent of rear-end crashes included in the study.
Distracted Drivers Not Looking at Road for Length of Football Field
According to the Foundation, drivers using their cell phone, including calling and texting, took their eyes off the road an average of 4.1 seconds of the six seconds prior to the crash. A car or truck traveling 55 mph will travel about the length of a football field in that time.
Distracted teens aren’t the only group who pose a grave danger. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, in its Driver Distraction in Commercial Vehicle Operations study, found that truckers who text while driving increase their risk for a crash by 23 percent.
Distracted Drivers Factor in Almost 30 Percent of Truck Crashes
In addition, a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that a truck driver’s poor decision, such as speeding, was the number one “critical reason” for tractor-trailer crashes. But driver inattention was the second leading factor, cited in 29 percent of all accidents caused by truckers.
When distracted drivers cause catastrophic accidents, they should be held accountable for their negligent behavior. Those who have been critically hurt or who lost a family member in a car or truck crash caused by a distracted driver can speak with an attorney who investigates serious motor vehicle accident cases to begin this process.
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