The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released recent research that reveals the troubling behaviors behind distracted driving among teen drivers. You may not know this, but the time period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, which we are currently in, is known as the “100 Deadliest Days” for teens. As more teenagers are out on the road during the summer months, the number of fatal crashes involving teen drivers increases to an average of 10 deaths every day! That is 16 percent higher than the rest of the year. Given this information, it is imperative to highlight what type of distracted driving is most dangerous, in order to prevent it.
The AAA study looked at teen drivers for over the past eight years (2007-2015). They used dashboard cameras to document the driving behaviors. According to an article from CBS News, overtime, AAA saw a disturbing change in driving behavior. However, by now that change in behavior should sadly be no surprise. What they discovered is that more teen drivers are likely now to be interacting with their phones either texting or on social media. According to the study, on average, almost 60 percent of crashes involved some type of potentially distracting behavior during the six seconds that lead up to the crash. The most common distractions overall were:
- Attending to Passengers (14.6%)
- Cell phone use (11.9%)
- Attending inside the vehicle (10.7%)
The study states that there wasn’t a change from the past in teen drivers using their cell phones. The change was in how the drivers were using the phone. There was a significant decrease in talking/listening; however, operating or looking at a cell phone has increased significantly over the years. And as you can see, while cell phone use is deadly, so are other passengers.
The article notes that the AAA recommends complete bans on wireless devices for drivers under 18, which 30 states have enacted laws banning. In fact, Colorado has banned the use of cell phones, including calling, texting, and using social media, for those under 18.
Let us all stress to teen drivers, and adult drivers, the dangers of distracted driving. We all can put down our phones. If you enjoyed this blog, be sure to check out some of our previous winners in our high school PSA contest, and more, highlighting the dangers of distracted driving.