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Distractions leading cause of crashes among teens

Most drivers in Maryland have heard about the risks of distracted driving. Distracted driving continues to be a leading cause of car accidents despite safety campaigns and even laws limiting the use of cellphones behind the wheel. Unfortunately, a new study reports that distracted driving is still a significant safety hazard for teen drivers.

A study by the AAA found that more than 50 percent of car accidents involving teenagers were caused by distracted driving. Cellphone use was one the main reasons teens were distracted behind the wheel. 

The researchers viewed videos of teen drivers and analyzed the six seconds before the car crash. Roughly 1,700 videos were viewed, and 58 percent of the crashes were caused by distracted drivers.

Cellphone use was a big cause of distraction. The researchers said that 12 percent of distractions were contributed to cellphone use. Talking to other passengers in the vehicle contributed to 15 percent of distractions. In addition to these, other distractions included looking for something in the car and singing or dancing while driving.

This study highlights the serious dangers of cellphone use and other distractions among teen drivers. All drivers, not just teenagers, should be aware of the hazards before they get behind the wheel. 

Cellphone use, whether you are texting, checking email or talking on the phone, is dangerous. Taking your eyes off the road for even a few seconds can lead to a serious accident and puts everyone on the road at risk for being injured or killed. 

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Distractions significant factor in teen crashes, report says," Joe Burris, March 25, 2015

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