Risky Teen Driving

Our Alpharetta car accident attorneys know that distracted driving is a growing cause of car accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that distracted driving contributed to more than 3,000 highway deaths in 2010. Another estimate says that 15 to 20 percent of all crashes are associated with distracted driving. In today’s fast-paced, multimedia-driven world, cell phones are a huge source of distraction. Many of us can never seem to get off our phones, even while driving. This is particularly a problem for teenage drivers, who have less experience anyway and are prone to more risk taking behavior.

A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that teenage girls are more than twice as likely as boys to use an electronic device, such as a cell phone, while driving. They were also more likely to be distracted while reaching for an object than boys and were 25 percent more likely to be distracted eating or drinking while driving. However, male teens were twice as likely to turn around in their seats and try to talk to people outside the vehicle as girls. AAA already estimates that teens are 50 percent more likely to crash within their first month of unsupervised driving than after their first year driving.

AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger said in a press release, “This new study provides the best view we’ve had about how and when teens engage in distracted driving behaviors believed to contribute to making car crashes the leading cause of death for teenagers.”

AAA issued its 50 page report after studying in-car video clips from 50 families with new drivers in North Carolina. Researchers at the UNC Highway Safety Research Center conducted the study. They looked at both how parents supervise their teens when they start to learn to drive, and they also looked at teen behavior changes when they start driving unsupervised. They worked with 7,858 video clips from the first six months of unsupervised teen driving to come up with this report.

In addition to the behavior of the teen, they looked at the reactions and consequences of distracted driving–swerving, hard braking, acceleration. The study showed that teens engaged in some form of distracted behavior in 15 percent of the video clips. The most common kinds of distractions were adjusting the dashboard controls, personal grooming, and eating or drinking. Cell phones and texting were also a major source of distraction.

In Georgia, it is illegal for anyone to text while driving, and those under 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone at all while driving. It is therefore important to make sure the teenagers in their family learn good driving habits. Setting a good example is often the best approach.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident due to a distracted driver, our Alpharetta car crash attorneys can help. Regardless of the distracted driver’s age, please get in touch with an experienced attorney to discuss your case by calling 404-991-5950 or filling out our confidential case evaluation form online to schedule a free consultation.

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