Distracted Teen Drivers Risk Death and Injury More Often Than Previously Thought

Distracted driving death cases are continuing to confound U.S. traffic safety organizations, even as awareness campaigns proliferate around the country. One of the studies released in 2015 focuses on the habits of teen drivers who are involved in wrecks that can cause life-long injuries or death. The study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed the six seconds leading up to a crash in nearly 1,700 video clips taken by in-vehicle cameras. The analysis found that distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes. That’s four times as many as previously estimated based on police reports, according to AAA officials.

“The in-depth analysis provides indisputable evidence that teen drivers are distracted in a much greater percentage of crashes than we previously realized,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Teens have the highest crash rate of any group in the United States. About 963,000 drivers age 16-19 were involved in police-reported crashes in 2013, which is the most recent year of available data. These crashes resulted in 383,000 injuries and 2,865 deaths. Our law firm represents passengers and other motorists injured or killed by distracted drivers, including teens. In a distracted driver lawsuit, our attorneys don’t settle for insurance sums that fail to account for negligence. Nor do our clients get cheated out of the full extent of compensation for the personal injuries they suffer at the hands of a careless, distracted driver.

According to the AAA study — completed in partnership with university researchers in Iowa  — 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

The results showed that distraction was a factor in 58 percent of all crashes studied, including 89 percent of road-departure crashes and 76 percent of rear-end crashes. Researchers found that drivers handling their cell phone had their eyes off the road for an average of 4.1 out of the final six seconds leading up to a crash. The researchers also found that teen drivers using a cell phone failed to react more than half of the time before impact. That means they crashed without braking or steering.

“It’s astonishing the some drivers pay more attention to their cell phones than they do to the moving vehicles and other people who surround them,” said Fred Pritzker. “You can’t help but litigate these cases on behalf of all the victims.”

Established in Minneapolis as a law firm for plaintiffs, our attorneys have recovered millions for victims of distracted drivers. For a free case consultation, leave your contact information or call toll-free 1-888-377-8900 to talk to Fred or other lawyer at the firm.

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