Eyes On The Road, Hands On The Wheel

The sometimes deadly problem of distracted driving continues to grow, especially among teens

A new study released by American Automobile Association (AAA) and the University of Iowa (UI) is driving home a crucial point: today’s young drivers are not keeping their attention on the road.

Sixty percent of car accidents involving teens happen while the young driver is distracted, according to AAA. The organization also reports that more than 1,000 people die each year in crashes with teen drivers involved.

Researchers at UI and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety teamed up to analyze dashboard camera footage from more than 2,220 car accidents. The top three distractions for teens they discovered were:

1. Talking to passengers. This suggests that too much mental distraction can hinder quick reactions as much as not looking at the road.

2. Talking or texting on a cellphone

3. Looking away from the road to look at something inside the car

Parents can do much more than worry, though, when their teen is ready to get behind the wheel. Along with their data, the study’s authors shared their belief that parents can be the most effective deterrent to distracted driving. The AAA recommends that parents:

  • Talk to their kids early, and repeatedly, about the dangers of distracted driving
  • Draw up a parent-teen agreement with set rules about safe driving
  • Perhaps most importantly, teach by example. Model safe driving behavior in front of your children—keep your eyes on the road and never text while driving.

Keeping hands on the wheel and off of a cellphone every time you drive is the best way to make sure that everyone, of any age, always gets home safe.