AAA Takes on Teenage Driving in New Study

Teenagers have a lot on their minds, which is not a bad thing, except when it comes to getting behind the wheel. A report released March 25 reveals that six out of ten teen crashes involve driver distraction—400 percent greater than a prior study.
March 26, 2015, 2pm PDT | Irvin Dawid
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As the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety image below indicates, "distraction" is more than just talking or texting on a cell phone. "You might guess cell phones are the biggest distraction for young drivers, but guess again," reports CBS. "Simply chatting with other people in the car was the most common distraction leading to a crash for teen drivers."

Teen Driver Distraction Crashes Infographic

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for American teens. "Researchers from the AAA Motor Club examined nearly 6,900 videos from families who had cameras mounted both on their teen drivers, and on the front windshield, as part of an education program," reports CBS," (t)he most comprehensive research ever conducted into crash videos of teen drivers," according to AAA.

“Access to crash videos has allowed us to better understand the moments leading up to a vehicle impact in a way that was previously impossible,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

“This study shows how important it is for states to review their graduated driver licensing and distracted driving laws to ensure they provide as much protection as possible for teens,” continued AAA CEO Bob Darbelnet. “AAA recommends that state laws prohibit cell phone use by teen drivers and restrict passengers to one non-family member for the first six months of driving.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) "previously has estimated that distraction is a factor in only 14 percent of all teen driver crashes," notes AAA. According to NHTSA, in 2012, 3,328 Americans were killed in distracted driving crashes, less than 10 percent of the total of 33,561 highway deaths that year.

Founded in 1947, research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety "is used to create focused, high-impact educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and road users of all ages."

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Published on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 in KHOU 11 Houston
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