In 2010 and 2011, distracted driving resulted in over 3,000 fatalities each year, according to Distraction.gov. Distracted driving can include a variety of behaviors, but cell phone use, especially texting, is the most dangerous and common form of distraction. It should come as no surprise that teen drivers, who were raised in the age of the smartphone, are most guilty of driving while texting or talking on their phone.
The AAA Foundation conducted a 6-month long study that looked at the driving behaviors of 52 teen drivers. Over 24,000 clips of the teens’ driving behaviors were recorded.The highlights of the study have been compiled into an easy-to-read infograph created to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving among teens.
Throughout the study, 6.6% of teen drivers were seen using electronic devices and twice as many teens were observed operating an electronic device than holding a phone to their ear. However, cell phone use wasn’t the only distracting behavior the teens performed.
The teen drivers in the study engaged in at least 1 distracted driving behavior in about 15% of all clips. Electronic device use and other distracting behaviors were most common when teens were driving alone, but when they were carrying passengers, loud conversations were recorded 12.2% of the time. Both loud conversations and horseplay were more than twice as likely when multiple teens were in a vehicle than when only one other teen passenger was in the vehicle.
Below are a few more shocking statistics gathered from the study:
- Teen drivers were 3x as likely to take their eyes off the road when using a cell phone
- 0.7% of teen drivers were involved in a serious accident
- 7 of the 25 teens involved in an accident were involved in 58% of the accidents, with 3 teens having 5 incidents each
The AAA Foundation is just a glimpse of the amount of distracted driving that occurs among teen drivers. According to Distraction.gov, 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 who were involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash. 21% were distracted by the use of a cell phone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Help make the road a safer place for your teens and for the drivers your teens share the road with by talking to them about the dangers of distracted driving behaviors and setting rules about electronic device use while behind the wheel.