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Teen distracted driving is a larger problem than originally believed

In a recent study, researchers discovered that teenage distracted driving is a much larger issue than previous estimates suggested.

Teenage distracted driving is a prevalent issue on the roads in Illinois and throughout the country. However, a new study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that teenage distracted driving is a larger problem than previous estimates suggested.

Before this study was produced, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that in 14 percent of teenage car accidents, distraction was a contributing factor. After researchers looked at video footage collected from approximately 1,700 teen drivers, it was discovered that within the six seconds leading up to a car accident, the teenagers were distracted 58 percent of the time.

Common sources of distraction

There were many different activities that distracted the teenagers in this study. However, some of the leading causes of distraction included the following:

  • Looking at something in the vehicle – this form of distraction played a role in 10 percent of the collisions.
  • Interacting with passengers – the teenagers became distracted by other people in their car before 15 percent of the motor vehicle accidents.
  • Using a cellphone – this was a factor in approximately 12 percent of the car accidents. When the teenagers became distracted by a cellphone, this activity took their eyes away from the road for 4.1 seconds on average.

The researchers also noticed that in the car accidents involving cellphone use, many of the teenagers failed to steer or brake before they collided with another object or vehicle. Compared with other types of distraction, this finding suggests that the use of a cellphone behind the wheel can have a severe effect on the reaction times of teenage drivers.

Cellphone laws in Illinois

To prevent the number of teenagers who become distracted while driving, the state of Illinois has enacted several laws related to cellphone use. According to, novice drivers are not allowed to use handheld or hands-free devices while operating a vehicle. Additionally, drivers of all ages are prohibited from texting behind the wheel.

Although these laws are designed to reduce fatalities and injuries caused by distracted driving, they fail to account for the many other types of distraction that exist. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines distracted driving as any activity that takes a driver’s full attention away from the road.

Illinois accident victims who are injured in a collision caused by a driver who failed to pay attention to the road may require significant medical and rehabilitative care. Contact an attorney in your area to determine what your legal rights are at this time if you were injured in a distracted driving accident.

Keywords: distracted, driving, accident, injury