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Reducing Distracted Driving Among Teenagers

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

California residents are unlikely to be reassured by the findings of a recent study into the habits of teenage drivers. It has long been understood that younger motorists are more likely to be involved in an automobile accident, and it is often assumed that this is because of their lack of experience behind the wheel. However, the recent research indicates that multitasking is a serious issue among younger drivers, and the problem does not just involve the use of mobile electronic devices.

The results of the study were published in March in the Journal of Transportation Safety and Security. Researchers were particularly surprised when 27 percent of the teens questioned admitted to changing their clothes while behind the wheel. Other risky behavior teens confessed to while driving included applying makeup, putting in contact lenses and finishing homework assignments. Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents, and researchers pointed out that any of these activities could lead to a serious collision.

Many younger drivers fail to appreciate the dangers of multitasking behind the wheel, and researchers visited schools to drive the message home. Students were asked to write down a series of numbers while having a telephone conversation, and they were surprised to learn how even these simple tasks were difficult to perform. While schools play an important role in reducing distracted driving among teenagers, parents do as well.

Distracted driving may lead to civil sanctions in addition to possible criminal penalties when an accident occurs that causes serious injury or death. The victims of distracted driving accidents often suffer catastrophic injuries, and a personal injury attorney may pursue civil remedies on their behalf. Some accident victims are prevented from working during prolonged physical therapy, and compensation could be sought for their lost income in addition to the costs of necessary medical care.