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Top Teen Driver Distraction Is Other Teens in the Car

While teens and texting are often a dangerous combination, a new study reveals that the biggest distraction for teen drivers is other passengers in the vehicle. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety announced its findings as we enter the “100 Deadliest Days,” the period starting at Memorial Day when teen crash deaths historically skyrocket.

As we have previously discussed on this San Diego Injury Blog, teen driving accidents rise dramatically during the summer months because teens are on the road more often during this time of year. The AAA Foundation reports just how dangerous the “100 Deadliest Days” can be — over the past five years, more than 5,000 people have been killed in crashes involving teen drivers during this time period.

To help identify how to prevent teen driving accidents, the AAA Foundation collaborated with researchers at the University of Iowa to analyze the moments leading up to a crash in more than 2,200 videos captured from in-car dash cameras. The study found that 60 percent of teen crashes are likely caused by distracted driving.

While distraction can take many forms, the data revealed that the following are the top three distractions for teen drivers:

  • Talking or attending to other passengers in the vehicle: 15 percent of crashes
  • Talking, texting or operating a cell phone: 12 percent of crashes
  • Attending to or looking at something inside the vehicle: 11 percent of crashes

"What we know about teens is that when they add a passenger, they're more likely to be distracted, they're more likely to engage in risky behavior," said Jennifer Ryan of AAA Foundation.

The research also revealed that texting and social media use by teen drivers is on the rise. In the moments leading up to a crash, teens were more likely to be texting or looking down at the phone than talking on it. A separate AAA Foundation survey shows that nearly 50 percent of teen drivers admitted they had read a text message or email while driving in the past 30 days.

Given the risks, AAA encourages parents to educate their teen about the dangers of distracted driving and monitor their actions behind the wheel.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a California car accident caused by a negligent driver, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. Relying on more than 30 years of legal experience, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of California injury victims.