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Are Apps the Biggest Distraction for Teen Drivers?

While texting behind the wheel is a frequent cause of distraction for teen drivers, cell phone applications may be more dangerous, according to a new study. It found that 68 percent of teen drivers use apps while driving, compared to 27 percent who still text behind the wheel.

Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) surveyed 5,150 high school students about their driving habits. The study found that while most teens believe using apps is distracting, many are ignoring the risk. Below are a few key findings:

  • An overwhelming 95 percent of teens said that using an app while driving is dangerous; however, 68 percent acknowledged that they used apps behind the wheel.
  • While 41 percent explicitly stated that using navigation apps while driving is dangerous or distracting, 58 percent report using them on the road.
  • Approximately 64 percent of teens agreed that using music apps while driving is dangerous or distracting, yet nearly half (46 percent) still admitted to using them while driving.

While teens may perceive that using a navigation or music app is less distracting than texting, entering a destination or scrolling through a song list are equally risky driving behaviors. Using them takes the driver’s focus and eyes away from the road.

“Phone use while driving is one of the most concerning behaviors by inexperienced teen drivers. Any behavior that takes your eyes and focus off the road, even for mere seconds, can impair your ability to react to hazards and other vehicles,” said Dr. William Horrey, Ph.D., principal research scientist at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Research Institute for Safety. “It’s not the apps themselves that are dangerous, but how we, and our teens, interact with them while behind the wheel.”

In light of their findings, SADD and Liberty Mutual encourage parents to verify that their teens have directions to their destination before leaving the house. They also recommend that parents require teens to place their cell phones out of reach while driving.

If you or someone you love has suffered serious injury in a San Diego motor vehicle accident, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. With more than 30 years of experience, we have the knowledge and experience to obtain the compensation that injury victims deserve.