A new study shows that distracted driving among teens is leading to more crashes than previously thought.
Results released Wednesday from what is described as the most comprehensive study of distracted driving show that distraction was a key factor in nearly six in 10 crashes involving teen drivers.
That is four times as many crashes as police reports have previously suggested, according to the Automobile Association of America’s Foundation for Traffic Safety.
The study, conducted by the University of Iowa, looked at in-car videos of 1,700 crashes involving teens. It also found that distraction played a role in nearly 90 percent of teen crashes in which the vehicle veered off the road, and in three-quarters of crashes where the teen’s vehicle rear-ended another car.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has previously estimated 14 percent of teen crashes are related to distractions, according to the AAA.
The study found that teen drivers took their eyes off the road an average of 4.1 seconds during the six seconds before the crash. Their attention was diverted to their cell phone, the study showed. The study found that in half of the rear-end collisions, teens did not brake or attempt to steer clear of the car ahead of them.
AAA officials said parents of teen drivers should set rules for their children prior to driving, and even get them to sign an agreement addressing how they will behave while driving.
“Parents can play a vital role in preventing their teens from engaging in distracted driving and learning to be a safe driver,” said Cynthia Harris, AAA Northern California spokesperson. “Before parents begin practice driving with their teen, they should create a parent-teen driving agreement that includes strict ground rules related to distracted driving.”
Call The Bee’s Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059.