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Study: Teen drivers grow more and more careless over time

For many teen drivers in Connecticut, the attainment of their driver's license means that they are given more freedom. However, with the presence of newly-licensed drivers on the road, many other drivers are put at risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teenage drivers are more likely to underestimate the danger of certain situations, like texting and driving. Additionally, a new study discovered that while teen drivers may be cautious at first and refrain from distraction, their likeliness of engaging in distracted driving activities rises as they grow more comfortable with driving.

The correlation between distraction and experience

According to recent research conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and federal researchers, teen drivers are very cautious after they first start driving but then begin to participate in potentially risky behaviors, like talking to other people in the car, speaking on their cellphone or eating, as they gain experience.

To come to this conclusion, the researchers compared the results from two separate studies. The first study involved drivers between the ages of 18 to 72 who had an average of 20 years of experience while the second involved 42 teenagers who had their licenses for less than three weeks at the beginning of the study.

In both studies, the participants' vehicles were equipped with data acquisition systems that included cameras and sensors. During the first six months after licensure, the teenage participants engaged in secondary tasks less often than participants in the experienced driver group. However, by the end of the study, the novice drivers increased their participation in risky distractions two-fold.

The danger of distraction

Although mobile devices are designed to be convenient, distracted driving is linked to car accidents that have disastrous consequences for those involved. The following statistics illustrate the dangers distraction poses to drivers:

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that driver distraction was the cause of 18 percent of all fatal crashes in 2010.
  • A Pew Survey states that forty percent of teens in the U.S. have been in a vehicle where the driver used a cellphone during a situation that put others in danger.
  • A driver's crash risk is 23 times worse when they are texting in comparison when they are not engaging in distraction, a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study reports.

Those who were involved in a car accident where the other driver was talking on their cellphone, eating or texting may suffer from serious physical, emotional and psychological consequences. If you were recently injured in a distracted-driving related collision, consult with an attorney who can protect your legal rights at this time.