As we noted in a recent post on this blog, distracted driving is an important safety issue when it comes to teen drivers. Numerous studies have shown that distracted driving among teens is rather common, but the results of a recent study by AAA seem to indicate that the behavior is more common than was previously thought.
According to a review of almost 1,700 videos of motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers, distracted driving in the form of texting, cell phone use or conversing with a passenger was a factor in almost 60 percent of the cases. That number is significantly higher than what officials had previously estimated, in some cases up to four times higher.
Most states have taken steps to put restrictions on distracted driving and the amount of passengers teens may have in the vehicle with them. West Virginia, for its part, has banned texting and handheld cellphone use for all drivers. Drivers with a learner’s permit or an intermediate license are prohibited from all cellphone use while driving.
In addition, under West Virginia licensing laws teens are not allowed to drive with any non-family passenger for the first 6 months of having an intermediate license if they are under the age of 20. After that and up until one year, drivers under the age of 20 may only have one non-family passenger in the vehicle. Once a motorist receives their full license—teens can become eligible at the age of 17—there are no restrictions on the amount of passengers they may have in the vehicle with them.
Regardless of the effectiveness of these prohibitions and limitations, or any changes made to these rules, distracted driving accidents are going to continue to occur and it is important for victims to work with an experienced advocate to protect their rights and ensure they receive the compensation they deserve.
Mlive.gov, “Distracted driving - phone, friends - factors into 6 in 10 teen crashes, AAA video review finds,” Mar. 25, 2015.
Distraction.gov, “State Laws,” Accessed Mar. 27, 2015.
Teendriving.aaa.com, “Licensing & State Laws,” Accessed Mar. 27, 2015.