What happens when the adults aren’t around? That’s what every parent of a teenage driver wants to know. To find out, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety put hidden cameras in teens’ cars for a first-of-its-kind study on distracted driving among teenagers.
They found that in 15 percent of the clips, teens engaged in potentially distracting behavior, including eating, drinking, and horseplay. The main culprit: devices such as cell phones. Girls were nearly twice as likely as boys to use gadgets and about 50 percent more likely to reach for things in the car. Don’t let the guys off too easily: They’re nearly twice as likely to turn around while driving.
Talk with your teenager about driving safety, starting with these four rules.
- Hang up Phone distractions caused nearly 1,000 U.S. driving fatalities in 2009.
- Buckle up Seat belts reduce the chance of being hurt or killed by 45 percent.
- Slow down One-third of teen driving fatalities involve speeding.
- Ditch the crowd Adding two teen passengers to a car doubles a 16-or 17-year-old driver’s crash risk.
Find more tips, download a parent-teen driving agreement, and order the Driver-ZED interactive training DVD at AAA.com/teensdrive.
This article was published in July 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.