Does Distracted Driving Really Lead to More Teen Car Accidents?

Much has been written here and elsewhere about teenage drivers and distracted driving.

Are distractions often the cause of car accidents involving teens?

A new study by the AAA Foundation looks at this question utilizing what is called DriveCam technology. DriveCam technology collects video, audio, and speed data when a driver triggers the device by hard braking, fast cornering, or an impact that exceeds a certain g-force. Each video is 12-seconds long and provides information on the 8 seconds before and 4 seconds after the trigger.

One thousand six-hundred and ninety-one car accidents involving 16-19-year-olds were examined in the study. What the data showed is very interesting.

Examining the video – teenagers were found to be engaging in a distracting behavior 58% of the time.

What were those behaviors? And is one sex more guilty than another?

First – both males and females are almost equally likely to be engaged in distracting activities while driving. Here are the activities that top the list:

  • Attending to passengers: 14.9% of the time
  • Using a cell phone: 11.9% of the time

Other factors that affected female drivers slightly more than male drivers:

  • Personal grooming (7% vs. 5%)
  • Dancing and singing to music (9% vs. 6%)

Also – cell phone use was found significantly more likely to be the cause of road-departure accidents than other types of car accidents (34% vs. 9.2%).

Looking away from the road was also seen as a major factor in teenage car accidents, with using electronic devices, attending to moving objects in the vehicle, using a cell phone, and reaching for an object in the car the leading contributors to such crashes. Time with eyes off the road was 4.1 seconds on average for drivers using a cell phone compared to just 0.9 seconds for other activities.

Interestingly – drowsy driving was not found to be a factor of significance in teen accidents.

Just what does the law say with respect to distracted driving in Connecticut?

  • Connecticut law prohibits the use of any hand-held mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle.*
  • Drivers who are 16 or 17 years of age are prohibited from using a cell phone or mobile device at any time – even with a hands-free accessory.
  • Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in while operating a motor vehicle.

There are three types of distractions:

  • Visual – taking your eyes off the road;
  • Manual – taking your hands off the wheel; and
  • Cognitive – taking your attention away from driving.

Fines in Connecticut have also recently been increased to $150 for the first offense, $300 for the second, and $500 thereafter.

If you’re ever injured in a car accident you suspect was caused by a distracted driver, know that the Hartford car accident lawyers at RisCassi & Davis have been assisting drivers injured in car accidents for 60 years. And we have received both state and national recognition for our work in this area. If you are ever in a car accident of any kind and would like a free consultation with one of our Connecticut car accident lawyers, please contact usThere is no obligation.

*with certain emergency and emergency personnel exceptions.


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