Across America

Mar 26, 2012 6:52 AM by David Morgan (CBS News)

Electronics top distractions for teen drivers

A new study of teen driving behavior has found that the use of electronic devices is the leader among distracted driving behaviors, and that teenage girls are twice as likely as boys to use cell phones or other electronic devices while driving.

The findings, from a study of video taken of young drivers, were released Monday by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Talking on the phone or texting while driving was the most common behavior that distracted young drivers, more so than adjusting controls, grooming, eating or drinking, or engaging in horseplay or loud conversations with passengers.

The findings are notable given that distracted driving behaviors are believed to contribute to traffic accidents, injuries and fatalities - and traffic crashes remain the leading cause of death for young Americans.

"This new study provides the best view we've had about how and when teens engage in distracted driving behaviors believed to contribute to making car crashes the leading cause of death for teenagers," said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger.

The study used data derived from video recordings taken inside the cars of 50 families with young drivers participating in the study, to capture drivers' behavior. Data recording was triggered by certain events - sudden braking, an abrupt turn - during unsupervised driving times. Data by older, more experienced sibling drivers was also captured, resulting in 24,085 driving clips of 52 teens taken over a six-month period.

More than 7,500 clips were selected for analysis, with sample sizes factoring in different driving patterns, distracting passengers, etc.

Sixty-three percent of drivers were age 16, 17 percent 17, and 19 percent were 18. More than two-thirds - 69 percent - were female. The vehicles being driven were passenger cars (56 percent), SUVs (17 percent), minivans (15 percent) and pickup trucks (12 percent).



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