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Distracted teens and fatal car crashes

Distracted driving is one of those problems that seems to be resistant to any type of solution. Legal penalties might curb certain activities, but others simply rush in to fill the void. Whether they are texting, talking, eating or grooming, teen drivers are susceptible to distractions.

Driving distractions are typically grouped into three categories cognitive, manual and visual. Removing your hands from the steering wheel to complete an activity, for example, would mean that particular action is a manual distraction. Some activities, such as texting, are more dangerous because they represent two or all three of the distraction categories. A driver who takes his or her eyes or attention from the road can cause devastating accidents resulting in head trauma, spinal cord damage or paralysis. Severe collisions can ultimately prove fatal.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) compiles data about motor vehicle accidents across the nation. In 2018, the NHTSA released statistics on teens and fatal distracted driving accidents. Crucial information included:

  • Teens accounted for 8% of the drivers involved in fatal distracted driving accidents
  • 256 people were killed in crashes that involved distracted teen drivers
  • 202 of the people killed in those accidents were teens

Due to the dangerous combination of lack of experience and prevalence for electronic gadgets, teen drivers will often find themselves tempted by distractions while behind the wheel. Some activities can carry a ticket for distracted or dangerous driving. Worse than a fine, however, is the possibility of causing a serious or deadly vehicle collision.


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