A new study of teen driving has found that using electronic devices is the most common form of distracted driving behavior for teens; teenage girls are twice as likely as boys to use cell phones or other electronic devices while driving.
In a technology-fueled world, young drivers can often find themselves distracted by as many as three different devices at once (including cell phones, iPods, and GPS’s).
As part of a study released Monday by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety , 50 video cameras were placed in cars of families with young drivers. Data recording was triggered by certain events like sudden braking and abrupt turns while teenagers were driving unsupervised.
Interestingly, distracted driving tendencies were related to gender. According to the study:
- Females were nearly twice as likely as males to use an electronic device while driving, and overall were nearly 10 percent more likely to be observed engaging in other distracted behaviors, like reaching for an object in the vehicle and eating or drinking.
- Males were roughly twice as likely to turn around in their seats while driving, and were also more likely to communicate with people outside of the vehicle.
The findings are noteworthy as distracted driving can contribute to South Carolina traffic accidents, injuries and fatalities.
According to CBS, authors of the study said police officers in North Carolina (where the study took place) have not made a concerted effort to enforce teen driver cell phone restrictions. According to court records, fewer than 50 citations were issued for violations of a teen driver cell phone restriction during 2010.
Similarly, in the 10 months since the City of Columbia outlawed texting while driving, city police have yet to write a ticket for it, according to The State.
Given that traffic crashes remain the leading cause of death for young Americans, the AAA Foundation has an established focus area on teen driver safety. For more information on this issue, and to see the full report and associated video clips, visit www.AAAFoundation.org.
We urge you to talk to your teen about the seriousness of distracted driving.