Teen drivers have a reputation for engaging in dangerous distracted driving. That reputation is not unfounded. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that distracted driving was behind 60 percent of car crashes involving teens. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration reports that 10 percent of fatal car crashes where a teen driver was at the wheel involved distracted driving.
Not All Distractions Involve Electronics
Most people think of cellphone use -- specifically texting and talking on the phone -- as the chief culprit behind teen distracted driving. However, distracted driving involves anything that takes your attention away from the road and your operation of the car.
For teens, the distraction often comes from others in the car. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study, 15 percent of distracted driving accidents involving teen drivers were caused by their passengers. That's more than texting, which came in at 12 percent in the study.
Electronic devices certainly play a role in many distracted driving crashes. Aside from texting and talking on the phone, teens now more than ever have access to social media and the internet in their cars. They've been known to take selfies and post them to Facebook and Instagram while driving. They also have access to videos and movies. Even if drivers aren't engaged in this activity, having passengers who are can be highly distracting. Of course, late model cars come equipped with all sorts of technological advancements like navigational systems that, even if they're inside the dashboard, take time, attention and hands away from the task of driving.
Grooming (including doing things as intricate as putting on make-up) as well as eating and drinking are also too often part of the driving experience. Kids who are running late for school or work may try to multi-task when they simply don't have the experience or skills to do it (not that it's safe for any driver, of course).
Why Sound Legal Guidance Is Essential If You've Been in a Crash
If you've been involved in an accident caused by a teen driver (or any at-fault driver), an essential part of the investigation needs to be what that driver was doing in the seconds prior to the crash. Law enforcement has techniques for determining whether someone was using an electronic device when a crash occurred.
Injuries suffered in a car crash can require medical care and therapy long into the future. That's why it's wise to explore your legal options for compensation with an experienced car accident attorney in your area.
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