Safe Teen Drivers: Distractive Driving Study

Jan. 13, 2014

Inexperienced drivers are four-times more likely to get into a car crash, this according to a new report published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"We instrumented 109 experienced drivers' vehicles with vehicle sensors and video cameras,” said Charlie Klauer with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. “We also instrumented 42 novice drivers’ vehicles with the same type of equipment."

Klauer and other VTTI researchers collected data for over a year, and say what they found was unsettling.

"Any secondary task that took the drivers eyes off the forward roadway and specifically novice drivers increased their risks substantially of being in a crash."

Klauer says younger and less experienced drivers are more likely to engage in distractions like texting, talking, eating and looking away from the road as they become more comfortable behind the wheel.

"Novice drivers are notorious at not really being able to detect hazards or detect hazardous situations on the roadway.”

Young drivers, like Rebecca Williams, agree.

"A lot of kids my age and younger I think feel like they're invincible sometimes on the road,” said Williams. “I think that being able to see the consequences of things like texting and driving, just being distracted in general, is going to be a really good thing for us.”

The researchers hope that this study will encourage lawmakers, both at the state and federal levels to revisit their new driver laws possibly making them tougher.

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