Study suggests distracted driving is still alarmingly common among teens

Research indicates over half of teen car crashes are distraction-related, which means thousands of Florida accidents may involve this negligent behavior.

Teenagers spend less time on the road than most drivers, yet they are involved in a much higher proportion of accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teens experience car crashes at three times the rate that older drivers do. Many people in Panama City may attribute this high accident rate to inexperience and poor judgment. However, research suggests that distraction may also be a significant factor in these accidents.

Dangerously distracted drivers

According to CNBC, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that 14 percent of teen car crashes are distraction-related accidents, which is already a troubling figure. However, a new observational study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that distraction might be even more prevalent among these drivers. After observing footage from nearly 1,700 accidents, the researchers concluded that distraction played a role in the following proportion of crashes:

• 89 percent of crashes in which the teen driver left the road

• 76 percent of accidents in which the teenager rear-ended another vehicle

• 58 percent of all observed accidents

Some of these accidents involved fairly innocuous distracted driving behaviors, such as talking to passengers or singing along to music. However, others involved more deliberate and negligent actions, such as grooming or texting while driving.

The level of distraction that many of the teenage drivers exhibited also provides cause for concern. The average teenager spent 4.1 of the 6.0 seconds before the crash looking at something other than the road. Additionally, in half of the rear-end accidents, the teenage drivers made no attempt to take evasive action. This indicates that the drivers likely weren't even aware that an accident was about to occur.

Accident risk in Florida

Unfortunately, local data suggests that teen distracted driving is just as much of a problem in Florida as it is in other areas. Only about 5 percent of licensed drivers in the state are teenagers, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. However, these drivers play a role in 12 percent of the state's reported distracted driving crashes.

Data from the same source indicates that in 2013, which is the latest year with full data available, teenagers in Florida were involved in 36,179 accidents. If the findings from the AAA study are relatively accurate and can be extended to a larger driving population, driver distraction may have played a role in thousands of these accidents.

Remedies may be available

If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, you deserve compensation for your injuries. At Walborsky & Bradley, we have prosecuted many claims involving distracted drivers, and we have the experience and expertise that you deserve. So, if you or a loved one has been the victim of a distracted driver, then call us at 1- or toll free at 1-800-800-8539.