A new study discovered that teenage distracted driving may be a contributing factor in many more car accidents than originally believed.
Distracted teenage drivers in California and throughout the country cause injurious and fatal accidents on a regular basis. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is estimated that distracted driving is a factor in approximately 14 percent of car accidents involving teen drivers. However, a new study suggests that teenage distracted driving may be responsible for four times as many motor vehicle collisions.
Sources of distraction
This study was conducted by researchers at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and involved looking at video footage collected from approximately 1,700 teenage drivers. After analyzing this footage, the researchers found that when the teenagers were involved in a car accident, six seconds before the onset of the collision, distraction was involved 58 percent of the time.
There were many different types of distraction that the teenage participants engaged in. However, some of the leading distractions in this study included:
- Cellphone use – this form of distraction was present in 12 percent of the car accidents. When the teenagers looked at their cellphone, this activity took their eyes away from the road for an average of 4.1 seconds.
- Interactions with others in the vehicle – this type of distraction occurred before 15 percent of the collisions.
- Looking at something inside of the car – this form of distraction took place before approximately 10 percent of the accidents.
The researchers also discovered that in the crashes involving cellphone use, many of the teenagers did not steer or brake appropriately before the crash occurred. This finding suggests that cellphone use could have a serious effect on teenage drivers’ ability to react appropriately in emergency driving situations when compared with other forms of distraction.
Cellphone laws in California
To reduce the number of teenagers and adults who distract themselves by multitasking behind the wheel, the state of California has enacted several laws related to cellphone use and electronics. According to Distraction.gov, drivers of all ages are prohibited from using a handheld device while operating a vehicle. Additionally, novice drivers are not allowed to use a handheld or hands-free communication device behind the wheel.
Despite the existence of these laws, many drivers, passengers and pedestrians in California are injured or killed in distracted driving collisions every day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accidents involving driver distraction kill more than nine people and injure over 1,153 people on a daily basis.
Recovering after an accident
Those in California who were injured in a distracted driving accident may experience physical, emotional and financial harm. If you were injured in a car accident involving driver distraction, consult with an attorney to determine what legal steps you should take next.