Distracted driving poses a major threat to roadway safety in New Jersey, and some reports have been particularly concerned about the prevalence of distraction among inexperienced teen drivers. From October 20 through 26, communities mark Teen Driver Safety Week, highlighting activities and events that focus on improving skills and safety for young people behind the wheel. At Michigan State University, researchers released a study addressing issues of distraction among teens. The study examined 3,400 drivers between 2011 and 2013 using various instruments deployed in their cars to measure their driving skills and behavior while operating a vehicle.
Researchers said that this in-vehicle data was critical to presenting a greater understanding of distracted driving and other threats to roadway safety. In car accident cases, police often must rely on self-reported information that can sometimes paint a misleading picture, even when crashes are attributed to cellphone distractions. The researchers examined around 60 different types of distraction that can capture a driver’s attention, from talking on the phone to texting to surfing the internet. They said that the types of distractions that take a driver’s hands off the wheel and eyes away from the road tended to be the most dangerous.
Picking up a mobile phone and talking on it was less tightly linked to car crashes and other safety events than other types of phone use like texting, browsing the web and watching videos. Other types of distraction also posed a threat, such as “rubbernecking” to look at other incidents on the roadway.
Teen drivers are more likely to drive distracted than others, and the consequences can be significant for others on the road. People injured in a motor vehicle accident due to someone else’s distracted driving may consult with a personal injury lawyer about their options to seek compensation.