Study: Teen Drivers Have Higher Risk of an Accident When Distracted

It’s no surprise that distractions contribute to many accidents that take place on the road. But a new study from the National Institutes of Health and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University has found that on average drivers take their eyes off the road for approximately ten percent of the time they are driving.

The study also found that teens who recently received their licenses are more at risk of accidents or near crashes when distracted, compared to experienced adult drivers. Yet it doesn’t detract from the common risk shared by all drivers when engaged in something other than driving.

Certain distractions posed a higher risk for new drivers. For instance, the risk of a crash (or near crash) was eight times higher when dialing the phone and seven to eight times higher when reaching for an object such as a phone, compared to when they were not distracted. With texting the risk was four times higher and three times higher when eating.

Although taking one’s eyes off the road for any reason (to look at an accident off to the side, read a street sign, etc.) is not safe, the dangers are substantially increased when the driver is distracted by a task. Emphasis should be placed on educating new/teen drivers about these risks. But the reality is that all motorists need to reduce distractions when behind the wheel.

Proving Distracted Driving Caused an Accident 

It’s not always easy to prove that another driver was distracted at the time of an accident. But there are some ways this can be done. For instance, a passenger in the car of the distracted driver might mention it while talking to the police at the scene. Or a witness in another vehicle could have observed the driver doing something right before the crash such as reaching for something or talking on a cell phone.

If you were in an accident that you suspect involved a distracted driver, call Gacovino, Lake & Associates at 800-550-0000 to speak with an attorney about your case.

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