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Distractions Posed by Phones and Passengers are Leading Culprits in Teen Accidents

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Teenagers are historically the most accident-prone driver demographic. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that teens are new drivers, but a recent study has concluded that many of these accidents may be prevented by eliminating in-vehicle distractions.

The study in question, conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, looked at the behavior of drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 in the six seconds prior to a crash. The study relied on dashboard-mounted camera footage in the cars, with researchers reviewing footage from over 2,200 crashes. According to the study, teen drivers engaged in potentially-distracting behavior prior to 59% of the crashes. The biggest culprit? Passengers. 34% of the cars involved in crashes were carrying passengers, making it the single factor that arose most often in collisions. Nearly 85% of those passengers were estimated to be between the ages of 16 and 19. 15% of all crashes were preceded by the driver speaking or otherwise engaging with their passengers in some way.

Of course, cell phone use played a substantial role in crashes, with 12% of all collisions being preceded by a driver’s cell phone use. Researchers determined that cell phones played a role in certain types of collision more often than others. For example, 28% of all accidents where the driver drove off the road, and 19% of rear-end crashes, resulted from a teen looking down at or operating their phone, but cell phones were involved in few accidents where the driver lost control of their car.

Statistics promulgated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration pegs the rate of distraction-caused crashes at 14%, with cell phone use responsible for 7 of the 14%. While teen distraction rates are likely higher than that of the average driver, it appears that this 14% estimate underrepresents the effect of distractions on drivers. This may be attributable to the reluctance of drivers to admit to using their phones prior to a crash, and the difficulty in determining that cell phone use was to blame without eyewitnesses to a crash.  Overall, it is important for both parents and teens to understand the possibly-grave impact of distractions while driving, and to take care to limit their effect on safety.

If you have been injured by a distracted driver in Alabama, seek the compensation you may be owed for any physical injuries or lost work by contacting the skilled and compassionate personal injury lawyer J. Allan Brown for a consultation on your claims, in Mobile at 251-473-6691.

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