The recent publication of a major review of dash cam videos of teens driving distracted and crashing their vehicles, compiled by the American Automobile Association (AAA) is something every teen and every parent should watch. To begin with, the statistics on teen distracted driving are stunning — nearly 60 percent of motor vehicle accidents involving teens are caused by some sort of distraction. The distraction can be a cell phone or other teens in the vehicle. It can be texting or it can be simply the teen driver pointing out something on the road to a passenger.
The most recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety effort which compiles teen distracted driving video footage, is a bit difficult to watch. The videos which were studied in collaboration with the University of Iowa, focus on the very crucial 6 seconds before a crash event. Although in some teen car crashes the teen is alone, often there are other passengers that cause distraction. Many experts believe that the issue is driver experience, but perhaps it is most likely to be that and other factors. Teens are statistically more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors and perhaps do not believe that anything terrible can happen to them, that they can text and drive because they are more careful than their peers. But this reasoning is not supported by the facts. Which is why watching videos of what has happened to thousands of teens, is perhaps a real wake up call for those teens and adults who think they are immune from the dangers of distracted driving.
The AAA video compilation found that distracted driving is a factor in teen car accidents in 6 out of 10 events. For example, in half of the rear-end collisions studied, cell phone users did not brake or slow down before impact. That is quite sobering, because in most states, a rear-end collision is presumed to be the fault of the driver that hits the rear of the vehicle in front of it.
So how can parents keep their teens safer? The AAA suggests that legislatures ensure that laws are in place to protect teens. In Georgia, due to Joshua’s Law, our teen drivers must complete driver education and we have a graduated licensing program as well. But in the end, AAA says that parents play the major role in educating their driving-age children about the dangers involved in distracted driving and cell phone use. It is crucial that parents model good driving behaviors and not use their phones while driving. Driver education is also key to reducing distraction which AAA says is best implemented with state laws that prohibit teen driver cell phone use and also permit one non-family member in the vehicle during the initial learning phase. AAA itself offers some excellent programs for parents and teen drivers.
Scholle Law is a Georgia personal injury firm with over two decades of experience in representing injured accident victims. We are here to guide our clients in the legal aspects of recovery, as well as help them with their medical recovery. Please contact our office for a free consultation after a serious injury or accident.