Distracted driving is a factor in almost six out of 10 moderate to severe crashes involving teenage drivers, four times the rate cited in many previous estimates, reports the Kansas City Star. A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety examined almost 1,700 in-car videos that showed what teen drivers were doing in the seconds before a wreck. The results reinforced suspicions of traffic safety officials who believe distracted-driving incidents involving teens to be greatly underreported.
The video evidence is wince-worthy, as young people stare at cellphones or talk with friends while their cars drift back and forth between lanes, dart off the road or come up suddenly on vehicles ahead of them. Distraction figured into 58 percent of the crash incidents. Federal officials previously estimated distraction to be a factor in only about 14 percent of all teen driver crashes, based largely on the drivers’ self-reporting to police officers. The video evidence shows many are lying when they say they were not distracted.