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Dangers of distracted teen driving

Teen drivers in Wisconsin and across the nation start off with the best of intentions regarding focused driving habits, but they quickly end up involved in other tasks when behind the wheel, according to a report released by The New England Journal of Medicine on Dec. 31. While experienced drivers can manage eating or talking, those tasks can prove challenging for new drivers. However, cell phone dialing can raise the likelihood of a car accident no matter the driver's age.

Statistics confirm that distracted driving is the leading factor for accidents across the country. Teen drivers begin to push their limits after just a few months of driving, according to the scientist who coauthored the study. He observed that the teens continue to take more risks until they make a mistake with sometimes dangerous consequences. He explained that it takes time to develop good driving habits and safe judgment. When teens text, eat and change the radio volume or station while driving, they simply don't have the experience to handle a sudden emergency. This could partly explain the reason for the high number of accidents among teen drivers.

The researchers considered statistics from two very small studies. One looked at the driving habits of 42 new drivers while the other assessed the driving skills of 100 people with more experience. They all had video cameras installed in their vehicles; sensors recorded any close misses or accidents. The videos reviewed actions just prior to a wreck. While talking on a cell phone didn't prove dangerous, dialing on a phone increased the risk of accidents for both groups.

If someone is the victim of an accident because of a negligent driver, he or she might want to hold the responsible party accountable. A personal injury attorney may be able to help clients who were injured because of a distracted driver.

Source: Wisconsin Public Radio News, "When Teen Drivers Multitask, They're Even Worse Than Adults", Maanvi Singh, January 01, 2014

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