DISTRACTED DRIVING A MAJOR FACTOR IN TEEN CRASHES, STUDY SAYS

A new AAA study has found that distractions account for more teen car accidents than previously thought.

Distracted driving plays a much bigger role in crashes than previously thought

A new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that distracted driving is playing a much bigger part in teen car crashes than was previously thought, according to Clarksville Online. The study found that driver distractions were a factor in about 60 percent of all moderate to serious teen car accidents, a figure that is many times higher than previous estimates. Not surprisingly, cell phone distractions are among the most common in-car distractions, a fact that is moving Tennessee lawmakers to dramatically increase the fine for texting and driving.

Distracted teen driving

The AAA study used in-car videos of nearly 1,700 teen drivers to determine what those drivers were doing at the time of an accident. The study found that distractions were a factor in 58 percent of all moderate and serious crashes, which was much higher than previous federal estimates of 14 percent. The study also found that distractions were to blame for 89 percent of crashes involving a car going off the road and 76 percent of rear-end collisions.

Driver distractions can come in a variety of forms, with interactions with passengers being the most common factor in teen accidents, accounting for 15 percent of crashes. Other distractions, such singing, personal grooming, and reaching for objects were also significant causes of teenage car accidents.

Texting and driving

Cellphone use, however, was the second-leading cause of teen car accidents, being implicated in 12 percent of all teen crashes. The AAA says that states should completely prohibit cellphone use while driving for novice and teenage drivers.

Tennessee lawmakers are also taking notice of the role cell phones play in traffic safety. A bill recently introduced in the state legislature would dramatically increase the fine for texting and driving from $50 to $250, according to WBIR News. Police officers are hopeful that increasing the fine for distracted driving will help discourage the practice from occurring in the first place, although they acknowledge that enforcing the law can be difficult. Safety experts say that people who are distracted by a cellphone while driving exhibit driving behaviors similar to drunk drivers, such as maintaining inconsistent speeds and drifting out of traffic lanes.

Accident representation

Being involved in a car accident can be a harrowing experience, especially when it is caused by another driver who may have been negligent or reckless while on the road. Such drivers should be held accountable for actions that needlessly place other drivers at risk.

A personal injury attorney can help anybody who has been injured in a car accident. Because of the steep medical bills and loss of income that often follow a serious accident, an attorney should be consulted to learn about what important sources of compensation may be available to cover such costly expenses.

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