During a six-month period, researchers from the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center gathered more than 24,000 video clips of teen drivers from 50 different families in our state. These recordings of drivers were only taken when video systems installed in the families’ vehicles detected certain events that could have been caused by distracted driving such as making an abrupt turn or braking quickly. The video clips of young drivers were only recorded when they did not have an adult supervising their driving.
As we mentioned earlier this week on our Fayetteville personal injury law blog, researchers from the center discovered that the major distractions for teens who participated in the study were electronic devices.
Of the 24,085 video recordings of teens who were in involved in an abrupt driving event, researchers analyzed more than 7,500 of the clips and discovered that forty-five percent of the video clips showed teen drivers who had looked away from the road for a brief moment or up to a total of four seconds. During these recordings, teen drivers were three times more likely to look away from the road in order to look at an electronic device instead.
Researchers also analyzed how these trigged recordings were linked to the participants being involved in near-collisions or high G-force events. Researchers concluded that more than 50 percent of the analyzed recordings involving some type of driver distraction were considered serious events that could have easily resulted in a car accident.
While teens certainly have a responsibility to eliminate distractions when driving, the authors of the study claim that police officers in North Carolina are not doing enough to enforce laws that ban teen drivers from using cell phones. During 2010, court records in North Carolina show that police didn’t even issue 50 citations to teens for driving while talking or texting on their cell phones. As this study conducted by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center suggests, more than 50 teens are guilty of violating cell phone restriction laws each year.
In fact, the results of this study suggest that hundreds of teens are possibly violating cell phone restriction laws each day on our North Carolina roads, putting themselves, their passengers and others in danger of being injured in a motor vehicle accident.
Source: CBS News, “Electronics top distractions for teen drivers,” David Morgan, March 26, 2012