Research Finds Distracted Driving Accidents a Top Threat to Teenagers

Photo of a car accidentDistracted driving has become the number one cause of preventable car accidents involving young people across the nation. According to the Automobile Association of America, distracted driving is a factor in 58 percent of moderate to severe car accidents involving teenagers.

AAA gathered the results by attaching dashboard cameras to the vehicles of more than 6,800 teenage drivers and then recorded any accidents. After analyzing nearly 1,700 videos, AAA concluded that distracted driving was responsible for 6 in 10 car accidents involving teenagers.

Previous data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association estimated that distracted driving was responsible for 14 percent of car accidents involving a teenage driver.

Mobile phone use and texting have become a major cause for car accidents involving young drivers, but additional distractions are also responsible. Results from the AAA study showed that teenagers were distracted by looking at other vehicles, singing or moving to music, grooming and reaching for objects in the car.

What Solutions Might Reduce Distracted Driving Car Accidents?

Traffic safety groups, including AAA, have called for licensing requirements that would restrict the number of passengers in vehicles driven by teenagers and further restrictions on mobile phone use. California has a ban on texting and driving and has restrictions on mobile phone use if a motorist is under the age of 18.

Schools and other public institutions have responded to the dangers of distracted driving by launching awareness campaigns. San Diego Mesa College recently held a prevention event, showing the impact distracted driving can have on victims by utilizing videos and showing students what it is like to be trapped in a crushed, wrecked car.

Solutions to reduce the number of distracted driving accidents will likely focus on prevention education and tougher restrictions or penalties.

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Did You Know? According to research from the University of Michigan, 25 percent of teenagers respond to text messages every time they drive.