Crashes involving distracted teen drivers caught on camera

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

WASHINGTON (KXAN) – Teen distracted driving is a much more serious problem than previously thought, according to a new study by AAA.

Researchers analyzed six seconds leading up to a crash in nearly 1,700 videos of teen drivers taken from in-vehicle cameras. The results show nearly six out of 10 wrecks were caused by a driver who was distracted.

Previously, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that distraction was to blame in only 10 percent of crashes.


VIDEO: Cameras catch crashes involving distracted teen drivers


“Teens are already distracted by the devices out there, already going to be distracted by passengers,” said Doug Shupe with AAA Texas. “When you add to the lack of experience behind the wheel, it’s a recipe for disaster.”

AAA recommends that states pass laws banning cell phone use by teen drivers and restrict teens to having just one non-family member passenger for the first six months of driving.

According to AAA, the most common forms of distraction leading up to a crash by a teen driver included:

  • Interacting with one or more passengers: 15 percent of crashes
  • Cell phone use: 12 percent of crashes
  • Looking at something in the vehicle: 10 percent of crashes
  • Looking at something outside the vehicle: 9 percent of crashes
  • Singing/moving to music: 8 percent of crashes
  • Grooming: 6 percent of crashes
  • Reaching for an object: 6 percent of crashes

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