Published On: Thu, Mar 29th, 2012

Teens distracted behind the wheel

Teen girls 50 percent more likely to use devices while driving

 

By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.

ONE FEATHER STAFF

 

      Just about everyone has seen people talking on a cell phone while driving.  But, what about texting while driving?  How about applying eye makeup?  How about applying eye makeup, brushing their hair, texting, and eating a hamburger? 

A recent AAA study reports alarming statistics on distracted driving among teenage drivers. (Photo courtesy of Delaware Office of Highway Safety)

      Ok, the last one was a little far-fetched, but distracted driving, especially among teenagers, is a growing problem and no laughing matter according to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study.  The study relates that the problem is worse among teenage girls who were nearly twice as likely as teenage boys to use an electronic device while driving. 

      “Cell phones, texting, personal grooming and reaching for things in the car were among the most common distracting activities found when cameras were put in a new teen drivers’ cars,” AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety president and CEO Peter Kissinger said in a statement.  “This new study provides the best view we’ve had about how and when teens engage in distracted driving behaviors believed to contribute to making car crashes the leading cause of death for teenagers.” 

      Kissinger said that taking your eyes off the road for even one second can be deadly.  “A second may not seem like much, but at 65 mph a car travels the length of a basketball court…that extra second can mean the difference between managed risk and tragedy for any driver.” 

      Information from the AAA Foundation states the report data was collected “as part of a three-phase naturalistic study of 50 North Carolina families with novice teen drivers”. 

      Manuel Hernandez, with Healthy Cherokee, has worked with Cherokee teens educating them on the dangers of texting while driving.  “Teens that are behind the wheel of a motor vehicle must understand that texting while driving can lead to serious injury to themselves, other motorists and pedestrians.  Texting while driving can divert attention off the road and lead to severe consequences.  I recommend that a teen who is driving put their phone on silent, allow a passenger to text, or if an emergency occurs to pull over safely.  Healthy practices lead to a healthy life.” 

      For more information on the dangers of distracted driving, visit www.distraction.gov or www.stoptextsstopwrecks.org.

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