Study Shows Teen Drivers Succumb To Distractions More Than Ever

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed nearly 1,700 videos that capture the actions of teen drivers in the moments before a crash. It found that distractions were a factor in nearly 6 of 10 moderate to severe crashes. That’s four times the rate in many previous official estimates that were based on police reports.

AAA examined more than 6,842 videos from cameras mounted in vehicles, showing both the driver and the simultaneous view out the windshield. The videos were provided by a company called Lytx, Inc., which offers programs that use video to coach drivers in improving their behavior and reducing vehicle collisions.

The videos revealed that distractions were involved in 58% of the car crashes. The most common forms of distraction were talking or otherwise engaging with passengers and using a cellphone, including talking, texting and reviewing messages. Other forms of distraction observed in the videos included drivers looking away from the road at something inside the vehicle, 10 percent; looking at something outside the vehicle other than the road ahead, 9 percent; singing or moving to music, 8 percent; grooming, 6 percent; and reaching for an object, 6 percent.

The videos provide “indisputable evidence that teen drivers are distracted in a much greater percentage of accidents than we previously realized,” said Peter Kissinger, the foundation’s president and CEO. The NHTSA previously reported that only 14% of teen car crashes were caused by all kinds of distractions.

What is the solution to this problem? Drivers of all ages (not just teens) are glued to their phones and unfortunately this includes while being behind the wheel. I have suggested over and over that there should be stiffer penalties for texting or phone use while driving. Should a teen’s license be suspended if they are caught texting and driving? Should there be higher fines? If teens are not afraid of the repercussions that come with texting and driving, then it will be tough to convince them to cease their behavior.

The other alternative could be left to the auto makers. Maybe there is technology on the horizon that would disable all phones in vehicles unless they are in a “hands free” mode.

Regardless, it appears that distracted driving is a much more dangerous issue than first thought, and that legislation and possibly, technology, should be improved.

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Last month the National Safety
Council (“NSC”) issued a press release regarding teen safety. The
report stated that car crashes are the leading
cause of death for teens in the U.S., and teens crash at three times the rate
of more experienced drivers. Possible reasons for the spike in these crashes
include:

  • Summer driving tends to be more
    recreational and not as purposeful, such as driving to see friends rather
    than driving to
     school or work
  • Teens could be carrying friends
    more frequently and passengers increase the risk of a fatal crash
    involving a teen driver by at least 44 percent
  • Teens may stay out later at
    night, when crash risk is higher
  • With warmer weather and clearer
    conditions, teens may be tempted to speed
  • More drivers are on the roads.
    Americans drove more than 780 billion miles between June, July and August
    in 2013, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

There’s a lot at stake here and it’s
not just teen lives. Their erratic driving can affect the lives of other
drivers, passengers and pedestrians, regardless of age. I think one step would
be more intensive classes and possibly raising the age to drive to 17. Another
step could be stricter penalties if a teenager is ticketed for texting and
driving, especially if a car accident or injuries from a car crash are a result
of the texting. Parents should also take an active role and drive with their
children to ensure they are doing the right things behind the wheel and
following the rules of the road.

If you or someone you love has been
seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then
call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Study Outlines Key To Decreasing Number Teen Car Accidents

The Insurance Institute
for Highway Safety (“IIHS”) recently published an article which
outlines the best way for every state to decrease the number of car accidents
and traffic fatalities. The IIHS looked at the 5 best graduated driving laws for
teen drivers in each state, and concluded that if combined, it would provide
the maximum amount of driving safety. Below are those 5 different laws that
would best promote teen driver safety:

1. Minimum
intermediate license age of 17; 
2. A minimum permit age of 16; 3. At least 65 supervised practice hours for
new drivers; 4.
 During
the intermediate stage, a night driving restriction starting at 8 p.m; and 5
. Ban
on all teen passengers.

Graduated licensing
enables new teen drivers to gradually build up driving experience as they
mature and develop on-the-road skills. The system has three stages: a
supervised learner’s period, an intermediate license (after passing a road
test) that limits driving in high-risk situations except under supervision, and
a license with full privileges. Teens with learner permits should get lots of
supervised driving practice, and once they have intermediate licenses they
should be subject to limits on night driving and teen passengers. The longer
the restrictions last the better. The IIHS’s research has shown that
states with the strongest laws enjoy the biggest reductions in fatal car crashes
among 15-17-year-old drivers and the biggest reductions in collisions reported
to insurers among 16-17-year-old drivers, compared with states with weak laws.

This is excellent data
provided by the IIHS and provides meaningful solutions that could lead to less
car accidents on the road. The problem is convincing legislatures in each state
to adopt all of these measures. None of the 5 restrictions listed above have
been adopted by a single state. What if the federal government intervened. I
can almost guarantee you that if the federal government promised and/or withheld
federal highway funding based on states adopting these laws, it would dramatically
effect whether this could be done. The same approach was taken when Bill
Clinton was in office 15-20 years ago with drunk driving laws. The federal
government withheld highway construction funding to states until states lowered
blood alcohol content (BAC) laws to .08. States did not receive funding from
the federal government until they lowered BAC requirements to .08. Maybe the
same approach could be used for teen driving requirements.  

If you or someone you
love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then
call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at
312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago. com. 

Ford Motor Co. Pledges 1 Million Towards Safe Driving Campaign

The Ford Motor Company announced earlier this month that they are pledging another million dollars towards its’ campaign to promote safe driving for teens.  Ford is working with the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), to expand its’ driving skills program at high schools throughout the country.

Starting this month, the Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) National Tour takes free driving exercises, web-based training and materials on driving safety to 30 high schools nationwide to augment its community driving clinics and web-based training.

Ford developed Driving Skills for Life in 2003 in partnership with GHSA, delivering one of the nation’s most comprehensive teen driver safety programs.

This year, the expanded Ford program will reach high schools in these market areas:  Birmingham, Ala.; Little Rock, Ark.; Hartford, Conn.; Orlando and Tallahassee, Fla.; Atlanta; Shreveport, La.; Portland, Maine;  Boston; Jackson, Miss.;  Manchester, N.H.; Albany, N.Y.; Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; Providence, R.I.; Charleston, S.C.; and Burlington, Vt.

Ford DSFL builds young drivers’ skills in four key areas: driver distraction, speed space management and vehicle handling and hazard recognition. These four areas are contributors to more than 60 percent of teen crashes.

You can go to their website www.drivingskillsforlife.com to learn more about their safe driving program.

This is an innovative campaign promoted by Ford because it focuses on drivers at a young age, which hopefully will give them driving skills and knowledge that they can keep for a lifetime.

If you or someone you know has been injured in Chicago car accident  or Chicago truck accident , then call Chicago accident attorney  Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com

Study Shows October Is The Most Dangerous Month For Teen Drivers

A new study prepared by State Farm Insurance has revealed that October is the most dangerous month for car crashes  by teens. The study shows that teen car accidents  increased by 15% in October compared to other months. The study used numbers from 2003 through 2009. State Farm says that 70% of U.S. states show that October is the most dangerous month.

“Car crashes remain the number one killer of teens and October continues to be our single biggest battleground month,” said Ann Baughan, Vice President of Operations at State Farm. “While promoting teen driver safety requires a year-round commitment, the fall time frame is critically important. As teens return to school, attend homecoming and begin managing very busy schedules, we want them to keep safe driving practices at the top of their minds because our data shows this is one of the most dangerous times of year for teens to be on the road.”

As a result, State Farm has worked with Congress and Philadelphia Children’s Hospital to name the third week in October as National Teen Driver Safety Week.  The week serves as a time set aside for parents, teens, educators and legislators to shine a spotlight on teen driver safety and ramp up conversations about solutions for the high rate of car crashes involving teens. Across the country this week, hundreds of State Farm agents and employees will be participating in teen driver safety activities in their local communities.

Although I often disagree with State Farm’s practices and treatment of injured accident victims, there is not doubt that they are committed to promoting safe driving.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident , then call Chicago car accident attorney , Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com.

AAA And Seventeen Magazine Team Up To Prevent Distracted Driving

A survey by AAA and Seventeen magazine turned up some startling results on teen drivers. Of those surveyed, almost 90 percent admitted to partaking in distracted driving, including texting, talking on the phone and eating while driving. The teen drivers admitted this despite, 84 percent of them knowing that this is a dangerous practice.

Of those surveyed, 73 percent have adjusted their radio/CD/MP3 player, 61 percent have eaten food, and 60 percent have talked on a cell phone while driving. The reasons teen drivers think it’s fine to engage in these distractions are varied: 41 percent think their action will only take a split second; 35 percent don’t think they’ll get hurt; 34 percent said they’re used to multitasking; and 32 percent don’t think that anything bad will happen to them.

“It’s great that so many teens are able to identify the bad driving habits that will put them and their friends in danger. But the bigger challenge we face now is to give them the tools they need to stop driving while distracted,” says Ann Shoket, editor in chief of Seventeen magazine. “It’s our responsibility to keep our 13 million readers out of harm’s way.”

This is a dangerous trend that needs to be addressed.  “Traffic crashes  are the leading cause of death for teen drivers and the proliferation of distracted driving among teens is a challenge all of us must face head-on,” said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet. “Because of their lack of driving experience and penchant to take risks, it’s imperative that teen drivers – like all drivers – remain focused behind the wheel at all times. AAA is pleased to partner with Seventeen to spread the anti-distracted driving message and help keep teen drivers safe.”

Obviously I believe the key is to continue to preach to teens (and drivers of all ages), to put down their phones, soda bottles and snacks and focus on the road. As AAA points out in their studies, it only takes 2 seconds of looking away to cause a car crash .

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident  or Chicago truck accident , then call Chicago accident attorney  Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the law firm website at www.BLGCHICAGO.com

Study Shows Illinois Falls Short With Teen Drivers

A study prepared by by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, gave Illinois high grades in all areas accept for teen drivers.  The entire study was put together by a coalition of groups from the insurance industry, law enforcement and consumer organizations. It grades states on the passage of laws that address teen driving, distracted driving, drunk driving, seat belt use and motorcycle helmets.

Illinois did receive high marks for recent legislation, including its’ complete ban on texting while driving. Secretary of State Jesse White pushed for the graduated driver licensing programs for teens last year which increased driving time with parents, reduced nighttime driving and restricts the number of passengers in the teen’s car. Secretary White says we are seeing the difference with a 52% reduction in teen driving deaths.

 

“We’re proud what we’ve been able to do. There’s a lot more to be done. Even though we’ve been able to enjoy a 52 percent reduction in loss of lives, we want it to go down to zero,” said White.

To claim the top spot, advocates recommends the teen drivers start learning at 16. Currently, 15- year-olds can get a permit. Also, experts encourage reducing nighttime driving for teens even further to 10 p.m. on weekends too. Currently, it’s 11 p.m. on weekends.

It will be interesting to see if Illinois legislators pass a graduated license program for teens. Stay tuned.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

Teens Texting, Calling And Driving Is A Scary Combination

A new Pew Research Report reveals that up to 50% of teen drivers admit to texting and talking on their cell phones while driving.

According to the study by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C, which surveyed 800 teens up to age 17:

• 75 percent of teens have a cellphone, and more than half of them say they have talked on their cellphone while driving.

• 40 percent say they have been in a car when the driver used a cellphone “in a way that put themselves or others in danger.”

• 48 percent of teens say they have been in a car when the driver was texting.

• More than one-third of teens ages 16 or 17 who text say they have texted while driving.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski already has gone on record with his concerns. “Distracted driving endangers life and property and the current levels of injury and loss are unacceptable,” he sold a U.S. Senate committee last month.

He cited a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report in 2008 that said driver distraction is the cause of 16 percent of all fatal crashes, which translates to 5,800 people killed, and 21 percent of crashes that result in an injury, which is 515,000 people.

As I previously wrote, the U.S. Senate is now considering a bill that would completely ban texting while driving. I don’t t think that legislation could come soon enough. The statistics do not lie and apparently teens drivers do not view this as a dangerous activity.

To read the complete article from the Seattle Times, click here.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident or truck accident, then contact attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

Graduated Licensing Requirement For Teens In Illinois Appears To Work

Everyone concerned with teen driving safety seem to be in agreement that Illinois’ graduated licensing requirement is a success. Enacted in 2008, the new legislation aims to get teens more supervised time on the road while limiting the number of passengers and distractions in their cars.

Statistics released by the Illinois Department of Transportation show the law has been quite effective in its first year. From January to October, 60 individuals between the ages of 16 to 19 died in teen related automobile accidents, according to IDOT. For a comparable time in 2007 — the year prior to the GDL’s enactment — automobile accidents claimed the lives of 127 teens.

Because of the limited number of fatal crashes seen by police departments here, local teen-driving statistics were unavailable.

In 2008, Illinois joined 31 states by implementing a graduated driver’s licensing program.

The new legislation — which sprung partially from Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s teen driving task force, which began meeting in 2006 — created two stages for young drivers: learner and intermediate.

Foremost among the new requirements was the tripling of the amount of time from three to six months a teen must spend with a learner’s permit.

Under the GDL, even intermediate teen drivers — those having passed their driver’s test — are not allowed to drive after 10 p.m. on weeknights or 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. And these newly-licensed drivers are not allowed to have more than one teenage passenger in their car during their first year on the road. The age of teens allowed to use cell phones was also raised from 18 to 19. 

To read the complete story about Illinois’ graduated licensing requirement, click here.

Should you or someone you know become involved in an car accident or truck accident, then call attorney Aaron J. Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.

Two Studies Confirm Teens With Supportive Parents Leads To Fewer Accidents

Philadelphia Children’s Hospital released results to two recent studies that showed teens who communicate with their parents about their driving are involved in less accidents.

The studies are based on the nationally-representative National Young Driver Survey of more than 5,500 teenagers. The first study shows that teens who said their parents set clear rules, paid attention to where they were going and whom they were with, and did so in a supportive way were:

  • half as likely to crash
  • twice as likely to wear seat belts
  • 71 percent less likely to drive while intoxicated
  • 30 percent less likely to use a cell phone while driving

These findings are compared to teens who said their parents were less involved. 

A second study found that teens who reported being the main driver of a vehicle were twice as likely to be involved in a crash, compared with teens who said they shared a vehicle with other family members. Nearly 75 percent of the teens surveyed reported being the main driver of a car.

“Once they’re behind the wheel, teens have ultimate responsibility for their behavior” says Kenneth Ginsburg, MD, MSEd, co-author of the study. “But kids who said their parents set rules in a supportive way were half as likely to crash compared with teens who saw their parents as less involved.”

According to the researchers, there are specific things parents can do to keep teens safer around driving: set clear rules about driving; talk with kids about where they’re going and who they’re with; and make sure teens know the rules are in place because you care about them and their safety – not because you wish to control them. This approach may make it more likely they will tell you what is going on in their lives, helping you better follow through on the rules you set.”

The key here is to talk to your kids, know where they are going and who is riding in their car. Also, it appears that practicing safe driving tactics with you children in the car (like wearing your seatbelt and avoiding your cell phone) will positively influence your children by the time they can drive.

To read the entire article about the studies, which was released by State Farm, click here.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto or trucking accident, then contact attorney Aaron J. Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.