New Study: Teens Start Safe, But Distractions Come Quickly

It is widely established and known that distractions are dangerous to drivers, passengers and other motorists on the road. Teen drivers are especially at risk of driving and texting because they are inexperienced and also face other distractions that do not impact adult drivers. According to an NPR report on a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, teen drivers often start off as careful drivers but start to “multi-task” within months of getting behind the wheel. “Multi-tasking” may include eating, texting, or talking on a cell phone.


Drivers in North and South Carolina should avoid distracted driving, but also be aware that teen drivers could pose a significant risk on the road. Our Asheville car accidents attorneys are experienced in helping car accident victims recover compensation after an injury or wrongful death. In addition to protecting the rights of victims and survivors, we are also committed to raising awareness about driver safety to prevent future accidents and injuries.

According to studies, older drivers may be more adept at handling “multi-tasking” such as eating or talking to other passengers because they have more experience on the road. Researchers also contend that any driver, young or old, can cause a serious accident by glancing down to dial a number or a text while behind the wheel. It is well-established by research, police records, and other accident surveys that distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents.

A co-author for the recent study explains that it makes sense drivers will test their own abilities and boundaries after a few months behind the wheel. Behavioral scientists explain that good driving takes practice, ability, and the safety judgment that comes with years of experience. Unfortunately, many teen drivers do not wait for months or years to develop safe driving practices. Most will begin to test their own abilities within months of having their license. Teens in the study were likely to eat, adjust radio, text and create other distractions just as much as older and experienced drivers. The study hopes to link the relationship between high accident rates and teen drivers.

For this study, researchers compared data in two smaller studies. One of the studies traced new drivers and the other tracked older drivers with more experience. The drivers had sensors and cameras installed in their cars. In the event of an accident or near-accident, video surveillance was used to determine what was going on in the vehicle just before the incident. As researchers focused on the impact and long-term consequences of distracted driving, they ignored any data related to drunk driving and those where other drivers were at fault.

Researchers assert that this is the first objective look at teen driver distraction, but since the sample size is small, they are hoping it will be confirmed by larger studies. Currently, a similar study is tracking over 2,000 drivers with sensors and cameras. Interestingly, the study found that while talking on a cell phone didn’t necessarily cause an accident, looking down to dial a number increased the risk of accidents for new and experienced drivers.

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:
Child-Related Driving Distractions More Dangerous Than Cell Phones: Report, Dec. 8, 2013, Anderson Car Accident Lawyer Blog

3 Killed in North Carolina Crash Blamed on Alcohol,
Nov. 30, 2013, Spartanburg Car Accident Lawyer Blog

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