John R. Fuller P.C.

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Denver, CO 80206

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What is Distracting Our Teen Drivers?

Mixed Race Woman with Smart Phone Texting and Driving.According to a recent national study, distractions are a more significant factor for teen driver car accidents than previously suspected. Conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the study analyzed approximately 1,700 videos retrieved from crash vehicles. The videos, utilized by an independent program and intended to help motorists improve their driving performance, indicate that as many as 60% of moderate to severe crashes involve some type of driver distraction.

Specifically, the crash footage has allowed researchers to see what happens during those last few seconds prior to a collision- data that was previously unavailable. And what that data shows is that teens are distracted much more often than initially thought.

What is distracting our teen drivers? Analysis of the data showed all forms of distraction to be a factor in 58% of crashes, including 89% of accidents where the vehicle left the road and 76% of rear-end crashes. The breakdown of individual distractions is as follows:

  • Driver interactions with passenger(s)- 15% of accidents
  •  Driver using cell phone to talk, text, or check notifications- 12%
  • Driver looking at an object in the vehicle- 10%
  • Driver looking at outside objects other than the road- 9%
  • Driver dancing or singing with the radio- 8%
  • Driver performing various types of personal grooming- 6%

The Foundation noted that teen drivers are involved in more accidents than any other age group. In 2013, drivers ages 16 to 19 were in approximately 963,000 police-documented collisions, resulting in 383,000 injuries and 2,865 fatalities.

Read More: NTSB Calls for Ban on Cell Phone Use While Driving

The videos used for the research were each about 12 seconds in length and supplied by the DriveCam division of Lytx, Inc., a San Diego-based company with the mission of improving road safety for all drivers. When a motorist applies the brakes harshly or has a collision, the DriveCam program gathers video, audio, and accelerometer information.

One video portrays a teen attempting to navigate a wet road with only one hand while holding a cell phone to his ear. Yet another video shows a teen looking at an electronic device, apparently texting, as the car leaves the road, on a collision course with a mailbox.

The researchers determined that manipulation of cell phones took drivers’ eyes off the road an average of 4.1 of the last 6 seconds just prior to a crash. The study also discovered that teens using their cell phones neglected to react before more than half of all rear-end collisions.

Based on the study, the AAA recommends that due to their lack of driving prowess, teens should be prohibited from using cell phones behind the wheel and be limited to only one non-family member in the vehicle with them until they have at least six months of driving experience.

Contact Our Denver Car Accident Lawyers

Denver Personal Injury Attorney John FullerIf a distracted driver has injured you or someone you love, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced and skilled Denver car accident attorney as soon as you are able. Your attorney will need to fight for your rights to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future losses. Without a lawyer on your side, you may find it difficult to obtain the money you need to fully recover. Contact the Denver Injury Law Firm of John R. Fuller, P.C. today at 303-597-4500 for a free initial consultation.