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Study: Most teen accidents caused by distraction

A teenage driver talking on a cellphone runs a red light and hits another car. A teen reading a text message fails to stop on the line at a crosswalk and strikes a pedestrian. A teen driver turning around to talk to friends or, reaching down to turn up the radio, drifts out of the right lane on the interstate and sends three cars spinning off the road.

These are just a few examples of accidents that teenage drivers may cause, and they all illustrate one simple thing: Distraction plays a large role. In fact, according to one study, it contributes to most teen accidents. The study examined videos of 1,691 teen crashes, and it found that distraction played a significant part in 58 percent of those wrecks.

Inexperience and distraction

Part of the issue is that teens already lack experience. They, more than any other drivers, need to keep their minds on driving at all times. They have to think through maneuvers that other drivers do automatically. They have to carefully watch the road and consider all factors contributing to their own safety and the safety of others.

When they get distracted, they can't do this. Their inexperience already makes them more dangerous than older drivers, and distraction robs them of what little know-how they have. This quickly leads to serious car accidents.

Death and injury statistics

Wondering just how dangerous distraction really is? The statistics from 2015 link it to around 391,000 injuries. Naturally, distractions may also have caused numerous accidents in which no one suffered an injury. Reports do note that 3,477 people died in these crashes, on top of the 391,000 who got injured.

In other words, this is a very real problem. It takes lives. It puts people in the hospital. It leaves them with disabilities and life-long injuries.

Why do people take the risk?

Many people know that things like texting and driving carry some level of risk. Reports indicate that even teens know there is a danger. However, they choose to do it anyway. They text, take photos, go on social media and make phone calls. Why do they do it?

Even with the statistics so readily available, it is often hard for people to really think it will happen to them. They can read about another driver crashing while texting and still feel like it's safe to read that text message when the phone chirps while they're in the car. They tell themselves they'll do it quickly or watch the road while typing or only text at stoplights. They rationalize it, and then they cause accidents.

What now?

Have you gotten injured in a wreck with a distracted teen driver? If so, make sure you know what legal options you have to seek financial compensation.

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