How distracted are teen drivers?

You've probably heard it over and over again: Teen drivers are way too distracted behind the wheel, and it makes them incredibly dangerous. In fact, maybe you've heard people complain about texting and driving, loud music, groups of teens packed into the same vehicles and other such distractions so much that you think it's all overstated. You're wondering if teens can possibly live up to their reputation.

They can, according to a study that was carried out by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. In fact, experts say the issue is even worse than a lot of people think.

The study looked only at accidents, and it was very focused, analyzing just the half a dozen seconds right before the wreck. It used videos as solid proof and examined a full 1,700 accidents. Essentially, the study wanted to look at video proof of whether or not teen drivers were actively distracted right before they crashed.

In a stunning 58 percent of all crashes labeled as moderate to severe, they were. That's a significant stat for many reasons, one of which is that teens are apparently not reporting the distractions to the police. That stat is four times as high as the estimates drawn from those reports. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) previously believed teens were only distracted in a mere 14 percent of accidents.

Some accidents showed higher rates than others. For example, teens were distracted in 76 percent of rear-end accidents and 89 percent of crashes where their vehicles left the roadway.

With the risk from teen drivers so astoundingly high, other drivers must know what rights they have to compensation if they are injured in these accidents. It can help cover things like medical bills and lost wages.

Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, "Distraction and Teen Crashes: Even Worse than We Thought," Tamra Johnson, accessed April 07, 2017

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