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Distraction a factor in 58 percent of California teen crashes

Distracted driving is a problem affecting all age groups and all states, and California’s teenage drivers are doing little to help combat the problem. Distracted driving, which refers to virtually any behavior that takes a driver’s cognitive, visual or manual attention away from the vehicle’s controls, is a factor in nearly 60 percent of all car crashes involving California teenage drivers, highlighting the need for change and the importance of increased education.

Just how bad is the nation’s distracted driving problem?

Distracted driving statistics

While California’s percentage of teen-involved distracted driving crashes is 44 percent higher than the national average, many motorists across other age groups also acknowledge engaging in dangerous distracted driving behaviors while behind the wheel. While 35 percent of motorists nationwide admit to sending text messages or emails while driving, nearly 50 percent of drivers nationwide admit using handheld phones behind the wheel.

It appears that many American motorists are also hypocritical, meaning they acknowledge that certain driving behaviors are highly dangerous, but they continue to practice them anyway. By and large, today’s drivers believe that distracted driving is not only becoming increasingly common, but that it is actually even more dangerous than drunk or aggressive driving.

Roots of distracted driving

While using cellphones behind the wheel has been a safety issue since the devices became mainstream, the increasing popularity of various social media sites is likely contributing to the distracted driving problem, and particularly among teens. Some teen drivers, and drivers across other age groups, also use their phones to watch videos and visit other websites while driving, which can lead to deadly repercussions.

Parents of teen drivers need to educate them about the dangers of distracted driving. While there are steps drivers can take to help protect themselves and avoid contributing to the distracted driving epidemic, there is only so much anyone can do to stay safe when others fail to follow the rules of the road.