US: teen drivers on phones linked to more accidents than previously thought image

Teenagers are the most likely drivers to have a crash on US roads, with motor vehicle accidents also being the leading case for their death, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Now the AAA, the organization formerly known as the American Automobile Association, said its latest research showed that distractions, such as mobile-phone use, grooming or even dancing were factors in 400 percent more accidents than previously estimated, after the organization studied footage of in-car video and audio recordings of what teen drivers were doing just moments prior to the crash. The lack of attention caused by the distraction caused them to fail to pay attention to their surroundings, to uphold traffic laws, signs and speed limits just before the crashes occurred. The AAA is using the data to support its push of having more states come up with laws for so-called graduated licenses: a teen motorist is limited to certain driving circumstances and then the restrictions are taken off as they age and gain driving experience.

“Access to crash videos has allowed us to better understand the moments leading up to a vehicle impact,” commented Peter Kissinger, president and chief executive officer of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, adding that “Teen drivers are distracted in a much greater percentage of crashes than we previously realized.”

The organization analyzed 1,691 real-time crash videos of teen drivers, with distractions (talking, mobile-phone use, singing and dancing or looking at other things than traffic) being a factor in 58 percent of the accidents. The previous estimate by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was that only 14 percent of teen crashes had as a factor distraction.

Via Bloomberg