Dashcam/Driver Video of Distractions and Teen Driver Crashes from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

VIDEO: Teens here are shown driving out of their lanes, but none of these ended up in serious personal injury accidents.

No surprise here. But several media outlets are reporting that teens distracted by passengers and cellphone play a gar greater role in vehicle crashes than previously thought. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed almost 1,700 videos that capture the performance (or lack of performance) and behaviors of teen drivers before a crash. The video analysis showed that distractions were a factor in nearly 6 of 10 moderate to severe crashes — four times the rate in many previous official estimates based on police reports.

Driver distraction was a factor in 58 percent of crashes, especially crashes that involved vehicles running off the road or in rear-end collisions. The most common forms of distraction were talking or otherwise engaging with passengers, using a cellphone, whether it was talking, texting or reviewing messages.

Other forms of distraction observed in the videos included drivers looking at something inside the vehicle instead of the road (10 percent), looking at something outside the vehicle other than the road ahead (9 percent), singing or moving to music (8 percent), grooming (6 percent), and reaching for an object (6 percent).

Singing or moving to music is an interesting listing because recently several police officers have posted videos of themselves driving while lip-synching to music — some with dance-like movement of the upper body in the car.

In the video, several drivers are shown crossing the center divider marking or running off road while using a cell phone.

In a 2014 study (2014 Traffic Safety Culture Index) by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety younger drivers, compared to older drivers were:

More likely to report engaging in distracting behaviors behind the wheel;

More likely to find these behaviors acceptable; and

Less likely to support legislation aimed at curbing distractions.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, founded in 1947, is a non-profit, charitable organization based in Washington, DC that is dedicated to saving lives through traffic safety research and education. The AAA Foundation also partners with the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University and other highway safety leaders to convene the annual National Summit for Rural Traffic Safety Culture.

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