When teenagers begin driving in New Jersey, parents typically worry about their safety on the road. They may not realize, though, that one hazard rides inside the car with their teenager–a cellphone. These devices can easily distract teens behind the wheel and may cause them to be involved in more collisions.
One of the reasons distracted driving leads to more accidents is that teenagers have their eyes on their cellphones instead of the road. CNBC says that before a collision occurs, adolescent drivers have their eyes away from the road for about 4.1 seconds. Drivers should typically look away from the road for three seconds at most. Other behavior behind the wheel can distract teens. Singing along with the radio or trying to grab an object, as well as speaking to multiple passengers, can take a teenager’s mind off the road. Additionally, looking at an object either outside or inside the car can be a distraction.
These distractions can cause teenagers to be involved in more collisions. Many rear-end collisions involving adolescents occur because the young driver does not always steer around a braking vehicle or brake in time. One study found that teenagers are distracted in 6 out of 10 accidents. This trend is significant because more teenagers are killed in motor vehicle collisions than by other kinds of hazards.
Distracted driving can sometimes be fatal for teenagers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving killed 3,450 people in 2016 and 263 of these people were teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19. When adolescent drivers were involved in fatal accidents, 303 of these young drivers were killed.