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Study says distraction causes 60% of teenage car accidents

Despite efforts to get teenage drivers to focus on the road and not their smartphones, young motorists may be committing distracted driving more than ever. A study by AAA contends that distracted driving is to blame for around 60 percent of accidents involving teenagers.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety examined dashboard camera footage of drivers aged 16 to 19. When one of the subjects got into a crash, the researchers watched the teen drivers’ behavior in the seconds before impact. And they discovered that about six out of 10 of the drivers were distracted for several seconds, either by their phones or by a passenger.

Pennsylvania law restricts cellphone use for drivers of all ages, and limits the number of non-relative passengers a driver can carry while under age 18. Still, police cannot catch every youthful offender before a crash occurs. And the passenger law is a secondary offense, meaning officers cannot pull over a driver for carrying too many passengers.

Where the law cannot fix bad habits, parents must step in. A Pennsylvania State trooper said that many teens learn distracted driving from the adults in their life setting a bad example. Besides cellphone use while driving, fiddling with the radio, personal grooming and other behaviors can lead to a car accident. Parents can avoid doing those things, and talk with their teens about the traffic around them while teaching them to drive.

Distracted driving can be deadly. An article by KDKA-TV quotes an expert who says that distracted driving kills 11 U.S. teenagers every day.

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