Teens linked to higher rate of distracted driving

Teenagers in West Virginia are more likely to drive while distracted and be in auto accidents, according to study data released for Teen Driver Safety Week. It may come as no surprise that teens are more prone to crashes, especially because they are inexperienced drivers and still learning to deal with emergency situations that can arise on the road. While distracted driving has garnered a good deal of public attention, many teens do not realize the dangerous effects of driving while surfing the web or texting a friend. Inexperienced drivers in particular may be ill-equipped to determine when the road demands their complete attention.

The study, which examined 3,400 drivers between 2011 and 2013, used an array of surveillance devices installed inside vehicles. Researchers said that this gave their data extra utility, as police car accident reports often rely on self-reported information about driving behavior. Many of the crashes that the researchers encountered were linked to cell phones distracting drivers, but they identified 60 different kinds of distraction that can pose a threat to roadway safety. Some types of distracted driving were far more likely to be implicated in collisions.

Researchers said that distractions outside the car were actually the most dangerous. Examples included other accidents that could inspire rubbernecking. When it comes to technology, distractions that involved the eyes were more dangerous. Car accidents were more frequently linked to distracted drivers using their phones to text, watch videos or browse the web rather than conducting voice calls.

Distracted driving crashes can cause catastrophic injuries and even take lives. Someone injured in a motor vehicle accident due to another party's dangerous or negligent driving may work with a personal injury attorney to pursue compensation for medical bills and other losses.

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