Study: teen driver distraction a bigger problem than previously thought

A new study found that distraction plays a bigger role than previously thought in teenage car accidents.

It is common knowledge that teenagers love their cellphones. Unfortunately, it is also a fact that they love using their cellphones while they are behind the wheel, which puts themselves and others at a greater risk of being involved in a car accident. Although the problem of teenage distracted driving has been well documented in previous studies, a new study has found that it may be responsible for more car accidents than previously thought.

Distraction plays a bigger role

In previous studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it was found that driver distraction was involved in only 14 percent of car accidents involving teen drivers. However, a new study from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reviewed in-vehicle video footage of about 1,700 teen drivers. From the footage, researchers found that in the six seconds preceding the motor vehicle crash, the teen subjects were distracted 58 percent of the time.

According to the study, there were many forms of distraction viewed in the video footage. However, some of the most prevalent forms of distracted driving observed by the researchers included:

• Talking or interacting with other passengers: responsible for 15 percent of crashes.

• Looking at something else within the car: a factor in 10 percent of accidents

• Using a cellphone: responsible for 12 percent of collisions

Out of the distractions observed, researchers found that cellphone use was the most distracting. It was found that it took the teen drivers' eyes off of the road for an average of 4.1 seconds. In addition, teen drivers that used their phones often did not hit the brakes or attempt to avoid the accident, suggesting that the cellphones significantly affected their reaction times compared to other forms of distraction.

Ohio law and cellphone use

Since cellphone use while driving, whether done by teens or adults, poses a serious threat to others, the Ohio legislature has stepped in to discourage this practice. For drivers under 18, it is illegal to use a cellphone to talk, text or use GPS while driving. For drivers over the age of 18, it is legal to use a cellphone to talk, but texting while driving is prohibited.

Despite the prohibitions, many people flout the law. Unfortunately, statistics show that their desire to stay connected can raise the risk of a car accident by as much as 23 times. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident by a distracted driver, you may suffer serious injuries that can harm you financially as well as physically. Fortunately, under the law, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering under the law. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Bashein & Bashein Company, LPA can evaluate your claim and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.