A car is... Study finds teens have trouble finishing the sentence

Teenagers have some great qualities. They are young, healthy, spirited and optimistic about the future. Any parent would likely admit that teens also have some qualities that contribute to a few mistakes or lapses in judgment, like the fact they can be impetuous, confident and independent.

Distracted driving is one of those missteps for teens in West Virginia and across the nation. Most of the safety campaigns geared toward reducing car accidents caused by distracted driving have focused on texting while driving or talking on cellphones. Should we be worried about more than cellphones? A new study suggests that teens may need a little reminding that a car is a mode of transportation not a changing room, desk or powder room.

Yes, you read those last few words correctly. A study conducted by Oregon State University and published in the Journal of Transportation Safety found that 27 percent of the teens surveyed admitted to changing their clothes or shoes while driving behind the wheel of a car. A few others said that driving was even a time when they caught up on their homework for class or put on makeup.

How do you convince teens that literally any behavior other than paying attention to the road ahead can be distracting? The study took a chance at answering that question as well. Students participated in a course in which instructors asked them to talk on the phone and try to write numbers on a chalkboard at the same time. It was a simple request that proved much harder to complete than many anticipated.

Bruce Simons-Morton, a behavioral scientist with the National Institutes of Health called the study and its results “promising” for future safety campaigns. As promising as it seems, it is a safe bet to say that accidents are still going to happen. If you are in an accident, make sure you protect your insurance claim by calling an attorney as soon as is possible.

Source: npr, “Teens Say They Change Clothes And Do Homework While Driving,” March 18, 2015

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