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Mar 25, 2015 2:51 PM

AAA study says distracted teen drivers


A new report from the American Automobile Association says that teens driving distracted behind the wheel is worse than ever before.

AAA says that distractions are four times more prevalent in teen crashes than previously reported.

According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the most comprehensive research ever conducted into crash videos of teen drivers has found significant evidence that distracted driving is likely much more serious a problem than previously known.

Video provided by AAA found that distraction was a factor in nearly six out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes, which is four times as many as official estimates based on police reports.

Researchers analyzed the six seconds leading up to a crash in nearly 1,700 videos of teen drivers taken from in-vehicle event recorders. The results showed that distraction was a factor in 58 percent of all crashes studied; including 89 percent of road-departure crashes and 76 percent of rear-end crashes. NHTSA had previously estimated that distraction was a factor in only 14 percent of all teen driver crashes.

"Access to crash videos has allowed us to better understand the moments leading up to a vehicle impact in a way that was previously impossible," said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. "The in-depth analysis provides indisputable evidence that teen drivers are distracted in a much greater percentage of crashes than we previously realized."

The most common forms of distraction leading up to a crash by a teen driver include:

• Interacting with one or more passengers: 15 percent of crashes
• Cellphone use: 12 percent of crashes
• Looking at something in the vehicle: 10 percent of crashes
• Looking at something outside the vehicle: 9 percent of crashes
• Singing/moving to music: 8 percent of crashes
• Grooming: 6 percent of crashes
• Reaching for an object: 6 percent of crashes

Teens have the highest crash rate of any group in the United States. About 963,000 drivers age 16-19 were involved in police-reported crashes in 2013, which is the most recent year of available data. These crashes resulted in 383,000 injuries and 2,865 deaths.

Check out AAA's video of teens distracted at the wheel below:


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