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Do You Really Know What Your Teen Driver Is Doing Behind The Wheel?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention, more U.S. teens die from involvement in motor vehicle accidents than from any other cause. For teen drivers, inexperience is a major factor and can result in a teen making unwise and dangerous decisions while driving.

Researchers from Oregon State University recently conducted a study in which they aimed to identify causes of distracted driving among teen drivers and also gauge teens' perceptions about these dangers. While researchers likely expected teens to own up to engaging in distracting behaviors like talking to back seat passengers, tuning the radio and texting; their research yielded some interesting results.

For example 27 percent of teen respondents admitted to changing clothes while operating a motor vehicle. Teens also admitted to engaging in other extremely distracting activities while driving including putting on makeup, doing homework and changing contacts.

Any activity that takes a driver's attention and focus off of the road and the task of driving is distracting and dangerous. To drive this point home, researchers also had study participants engage in "interactive drivers education" courses during which teens were asked to test their multitasking skills. For example, while talking on a cellphone, teens were asked to write numbers down or complete some other task that required attention and focus.

For drivers of all ages, distracted driving is a major problem and is the leading cause of U.S. traffic accidents. As safety persons and law enforcement officials struggle to find effective ways to change social norms related to cellphone use by drivers, the results of this study prove that more needs to be done to educate young drivers about other activities that can be just as, if not more, distracting and dangerous.

Source: Source: NPR, "Teens Say They Change Clothes And Do Homework While Driving," Maanvi Singh, March 18, 2015

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