Distracted teenagers behind wheel make for higher volume of car crashes

A new study suggests that due to teen drivers being easily distracted while they are behind the wheel this has made them more at risk of being involved in accidents. This is according to a report that was published in the Journal of New England Medicine in the month of January 2.

According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention car crashes were the main cause of death for teens in the U.S. In the year 2010 there were more teens dying in car crashes with seven deaths occurring every day and causing teen drivers to be three times more likely to be involved in the accidents as compared to drivers aged 20 and above.

Dr Karen Sheehan the medical director of injury prevention and research at the Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago said that the easiest way to reduce this risk was to pay attention. Sheehan said that the study confirmed that particularly for beginning drivers, that we should all follow what the Doors, the rock band suggested 40 years ago in their Roadhouse Blues saying that one should keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.

Charlie Klauer, the leader of the Risk and Injury Prevention Group at Virginia Tech and the study author said that beginning drivers are also not good detectors of potential hazards. He added that these drivers were still learning ways of handling and negotiating numerous traffic conditions and that they were also learning that when they looked away from the road they increased their risk. In addition, he said that when they take part in things that will make them take their eyes away from the road then they were at a higher risk of being victims of a car crash.

Charlie noted that some of these tasks included trying to reach for different objects or mobile phones, texting and eating. Klauer said that parents were required to counsel their children on eliminating distractions and that laws that limited mobile phone use, the times teens can drive and the number of passengers that they can have are quite helpful. She added that teens can be overconfident about their driving skills and that they lacked good decision making skills and judgment. She went on to say that skilled drivers take part in distracting activities however they wait till the traffic conditions are safer something that teen drivers do not do.