Colorado residents may have read reports about the large number of teen drivers who send and receive text messages while driving, but they may not realize how serious the problem is. Data compiled by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that driver distraction is a factor in 60 percent of serious accidents involving teenage drivers, which is significantly higher than previous estimates.
The data was based on viewing video footage recorded on in-vehicle cameras of the seconds immediately prior to a motor vehicle accident. Researchers viewed 1,700 such videos, and they found that distraction was a factor in over three quarters of rear-end collisions and 89 percent of road departure accidents. The most common causes of driver distraction found in these videos was interaction with passengers and the use of mobile electronic devices.
The high rate of cellphone use by teenage drivers was particularly worrying to researchers. The accident videos showed teen drivers taking their eyes off the road for over four seconds when they were distracted by a mobile phone. A lack of experience behind the wheel makes distracted driving even more dangerous for younger drivers, and the AAA believes that a ban on cellphone use by teen drivers and the implementation of graduated driver’s license programs could help. Accident data from 2013 reveals that 2,865 people died in accidents involving a driver between the ages of 16 and 19.
The victims of distracted driving accidents often suffer serious injuries that may prevent them from earning a living for prolonged periods. An attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit against a distracted driver on behalf of a victim of such an accident. Damages sought could include compensation for lost income as well as the costs of medical treatment.