Year-to-year, teenagers have consistently had a higher rate of crash than any other age group in the United States. This is not surprising considering their inexperience behind the wheel. However, as driver inexperience compounded with new exacerbating factors like driver distraction, the risks to teen drivers has become even greater.
In fact, distracted driving may now be the leading factor in car accidents involving teens, with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety attributing 60 percent of all teen car crashes to distracted driving.
The AAA Foundation’s findings were based on an eight year study tracking teen driving behaviors.
During their research, the AAA Foundation noted that talking and attending to other passengers in the vehicle accounted for 15 percent of crashes involving teens while cell phone use accounted for 12 percent of crashes. Another 11 percent of crashes were attributed to attending to or looking at something inside the vehicle.
Researcher’s also observed changes in the ways teens use their phones as technology has changed. During the early years of the study, teens were often found to be talking on their cell phone in the moments leading up to a crash; however, by the studies end, researchers noted that teens were more likely to be looking down at the phone in order to text or use social media.
“Many teens are texting or using social media behind the wheel more often than in the past, which is making an unsafe situation even worse,” said Georjeane Blumling of AAA Tidewater Virginia.
A study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute previously found that texting increases a driver’s risk of crash by 23 times.
According to TeenSafe, increased instances of distracted driving seem to coincide with the rise of smartphone ownership. From web browsing, to social media, to nearly unlimited apps, smartphones offer more potential distractions than a basic cellular phone.
Just since 2014, the percentage of smartphone users among teens between the ages of 12 and 17 has increased from 71 percent to 92 percent. Among individuals 18 through 24, smartphone ownership has jumped from 85 percent to 99 percent.
A 2016 study found that 76 percent of respondents between the ages 13 and 24 said they were addicted to their digital devices (compared to 59 percent among all individuals). With that, there is little wonder why drivers are so quick to put themselves at risk by reaching for their cellular device.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident due to the actions of a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Our experienced auto accident lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim. Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide. We can meet you wherever you reside, whether it be at home, at your workplace, or in the hospital. Contact us today for a free case review.