Reaching for Objects Increases Teen Crashes
Teen drivers who reach for objects increase their risk of crashing nearly seven times, according to a new study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Distracted driving has long been established as a major cause of car accidents, however this study sheds new light on the types of distractions that are most likely to cause a crash. It is the first of its kind to use real-time driving data to measure the extent in which visual distraction contributes to crash risk.
Distracted Driving in New Jersey
Any time drivers take their attention off the road, they put themselves and others at risk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that over 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2017 alone. Some of the most common distractions are in-vehicle technology, smart phones, and other handheld electronic devices.
In New Jersey, operating a vehicle while using a handheld device is prohibited. According the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles, distracted driving may be reduced by:
- Eliminating internal distractions before getting on the road
- Limiting distractions inside the vehicle
- Putting devices away or shutting them down
- Not multitasking while driving
Teen Drivers at Increased Risk
Authors of the study cite an article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, which reported that car accidents are the leading cause of death and disability among drivers aged 15 to 20. Teenagers who operate a cell phone while driving are nearly three times more likely to crash than those who do not, however even when the distraction is something other than technology, teens are at increased risk of getting into an accident. According to the study’s lead author, teens’ inexperience and tendency to overestimate their ability to multitask may contribute to a higher risk for distraction.
In the study, researchers at the NIH installed cameras and sensors in 82 cars. The teenagers drove with the technology during their first year on the road. The camera captured footage of the accidents that occurred during that time and what the drivers were doing in the moments before the crash. The researchers found that in 51 percent of the crashes, teen drivers were engaged in at least one secondary task while driving. Other findings from the study include:
- Interactions with passengers in the car occurred 21 percent of the time
- Ten percent of crashes involved manual use of cell phones
- Eleven percent of crashes involved reaching for snacks, drinks, or other objects
The greatest crash risk is attributable to visual distractions, either using a cell phone, which accounted for 41 percent of the risk, or reaching for other objects, which was responsible for 10 percent of the risk. The study’s authors suggest that teen drivers may benefit from technology that will monitor their attention and alert them when they take their eyes off the road for too long.
Contact a Turnersville Car Accident Lawyer at the Law Office of Mark S. Nathan for Assistance with Your Personal Injury Case
If you were injured in a car accident, contact a Turnersville car accident lawyer at the Law Office of Mark S. Nathan. You may be eligible for various types of damages to compensate for your losses, including payment for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To discuss your case, contact us online or call us at 856-232-5559 for a free consultation. Located in Blackwood, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout South Jersey, including Barrington, Clementon, Deptford, Glassboro, Gloucester Township, Haddon Heights, Lindenwold, Mantua, Pine Hill, Pitman, Runnemede, Turnersville, Washington Township, West Deptford, Williamstown, Winslow, Woodbury, Camden County, and Gloucester County.