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Distractions Prove Most Dangerous for Newly-Licensed Drivers

We’re all guilty of distracted driving from time to time.
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What you might not be aware of is that car insurance companies know the risks associated with each distracted driving habit and are pricing their policies accordingly. Bruce Hamilton, AAA’s research manager, says testing revealed that some in-vehicle distractions have little impact on a driver’s ability to focus on the road, while others present a bigger danger.

Our car accident lawyers in Fort Myers know some drivers can handle distractions better than others. Still, no one should take part. According to NPR, teen drivers are much more dangerous when multitasking behind the wheel. Older, more experienced drivers are better able to handle the risks associated, although not recommended. Recent studies illustrate that new drivers tend to keep their hands on the wheel, their eyes on the road and engage in virtually no distractions. But after 6 months of driving experience, many of them start to feel a little too comfortable behind the wheel and engage in distractions more than drivers in any other age group.

This isn’t great news, since distracted driving is a leading cause of traffic collisions.

Within six months of getting a driver’s license, drivers were more actively engageing in distractions like talking on a cell phone, messing with a radio, eating and even talking with passengers.

Researchers looked at more than 40 newly licensed drivers and looked at about 100 more who were more experienced behind the wheel. With cameras and sensors, researchers were able to track who got into accidents or close-call scenarios and what they were doing just before the incident occurred.

One finding that surprised many was that, for both teenage drivers and adults, talking on a cell phone didn’t cause accidents. But dialing the phone increased the risk of crashing in both groups. Newly licensed teen drivers were eight times more likely to have an accident or a near miss if they were dialing a phone behind the wheel.

So what were the distractions and how serious were they?

-Using a hand-held cell phone: Moderate
-Talking with a passenger: Moderate
-Listening to a book on tape: Minimal
-Listening to the radio: Minimal
-Hands-free cell phone use: Moderate
-Speech-to-text systems: Extensive risk
Overall, the frequency of distracted driver behaviors and distracting conditions varied little by day of week. However, noteworthy differences were observed by time of day. Distracted-driver behaviors (like adjusting controls, personal hygiene) showed a small, gradual decline over the course of the day. By contrast, loud conversation and horseplay increased, especially at night. In driving at night on weekends with one or more teenage peers (and no adults or siblings), loud conversation was observed in more than 20 percent of clips and horseplay was observed in more than 11 percent of clips.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, contact Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured. Call for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. 1-800-283-2900.

More Blog Entries:

FHP Highlights “Move-Over Law” to Promote Highway Safety in SWFL, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, January 13, 2014
Pedestrian Fatalities on the Rise in Southwest Florida, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, January 10, 2014