(WASHINGTON) — Distracted driving is far more prevalent among teens than previously believed, a new study out Wednesday finds.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed nearly 1,700 videos of teen drivers, focusing on the six seconds leading up to a crash. Researchers found that distractions were a factor in 58 percent of all the crashes they studied.
That’s “four times higher than the official government estimate,” points out Peter Kissinger, the foundation’s president and CEO.
He says the leading distraction for teen drivers is other passengers.
“If you add a second teen passenger to a teen driver in the car, that doubles the risk typically of being, that person being in a crash,” Kissinger says.
Cellphones are the second biggest distraction, representing about 12 percent of the cases the foundation studied, he notes.
Kissinger says states should consider tougher restrictions for teens with phones and passengers in cars, and hopes the findings encourage parents to get more engaged.
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