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Distracted Driving Leads to Auto Accidents



A recent study by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance reveals that driver distraction is one of the most serious issues that will confront many teenagers when they get behind the wheel of a car. A total of 5,665 high school students from 68 randomly selected schools participated in the survey. The students were selected from grades 9 through 12. Of these, 61 percent stated that they drove cars, as opposed to pickup trucks, SUVs, minivans, or motorcycles.

Distracted driving causes auto accidents

The teens were asked if they had seen distractions when they or another teen was driving and to specify what the distraction was. Almost 93 percent of the teens said that other teen passengers in the car were a distraction. Loud music in the car was listed as a distraction by 85 percent of the teens. An occupant of a vehicle singing and/or dancing was seen by 79 percent of the students, while passengers acting wild were noted by 69 percent. Younger children in the car were the only other distraction noted by at least half of the responding teenagers. Approximately 67 percent of teenagers stated they had experienced or seen this type of distraction.

The Effects of Drugs and Alcohol

The use of alcohol and marijuana were noted by fewer than half of survey's respondents. Alcohol use by passengers was cited by 48 percent of teens as a distraction they had witnessed. Passenger marijuana use was noted by 38 percent. The only other category listed, passengers getting driver to speed, was witnessed by 45 percent of teens.

The study cited insufficient data regarding cell phone usage to analyze it as a risk to teenage drivers. Yet the researchers found that 89 percent of teens reported seeing other teenagers on the cell phone while driving. Of these, 71 percent reported seeing other teens upset while talking on the cell phone and driving. Use of other handheld devices was reported by 53 percent of the teens surveyed. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia study concluded that while teens are aware of and understand the effects of drinking and driving, they do not understand as clearly the risks of driving while distracted or fatigued.