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Teens are distracted in 6 out of 10 accidents

You're heading to work when a teen driver flies by you in the other direction, staring down at her phone as she drives. You shake your head and keep going. At the next intersection, the car ahead of you doesn't move when the light turns green, the young driver looking back and talking to his friends in the back seat. Then, as you slow to turn into your parking lot, a car full of teens with the music blaring rear-ends you. As you get out of the car, wincing in pain, you notice that the driver of the smoking vehicle behind you is already posting a picture to Instagram.

If that series of events sounds unrealistic, even for reckless teen drivers, you should know that studies have shown that distracted driving among teens is much more widespread than anyone realized.

In the past, the estimates provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said teens were distracted in roughly 14 percent of accidents. However, a study that used video footage of wrecks, specifically looking at those crucial six seconds leading right up to the accident, says that teens are actually distracted in 58 percent of cases, or roughly 6 out of every 10 accidents.

With that in mind, seeing three distracted drivers on the way to work may be far more realistic than you thought.

Wondering what the biggest distractions were? The study by AAA found that they went in this order:

  • 15 percent: Teens were interacting with friends and passengers in the car.
  • 12 percent: Teens were using their cell phones, generally either talking or texting. Other cell phone activities, like surfing the internet, also count.
  • 10 percent: Looking at things inside of the car. This could include looking down at the GPS, for example.
  • 9 percent: Looking at things outside of the car. Billboards, other accidents, and police cars could all be examples.
  • 8 percent: Singing and/or dancing along with the music in the car. Music is an intentional distraction that people use to break up the boredom of driving.
  • 6 percent: Reaching for something in the car. For instance, a teen may have dropped a pair of sunglasses into the space between the seats.
  • 6 percent: Doing personal grooming while driving.

Of course, some of these leave room for a bit of overlap, or they could happen at once. Teens could simultaneously be talking to their friends, listening to music, and trying to pick something up off of the floor of the car, all while driving.

If you have been injured due to a distracted driver's negligence, you may be entitled to significantly more compensation than what is initially offered by the insurance company. To learn more, please see our overview of motor vehicle accidents in Arkansas.

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