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Study shows distractions main factors in near-crashes for teens

Accident-related teen deaths dropped more than 30 percent between 2004 and 2008. However, a new study shows that many teens have reported instances of narrowly avoiding car crashes.

More than 2,000 students from 28 different high schools were used in a recently published study which showed that more than two-thirds of the teenage drivers surveyed had barely avoided a car accident. The study also revealed that more than half of the students did not blame themselves for the near-accident.

However, nearly one-third of those who reported having a close call said that they were speeding at the time. One-fifth of students said that they were talking to others in their vehicle, while another fifth said that they were texting when they narrowly avoided a crash. More than half of the teens surveyed said that they had more than one close call in the past year.

A different study, performed by State Farm Insurance and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, indicated that a fifth of accidents that occur in which a teen is at fault can be blamed on distracted driving.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that teenage drivers are four times more likely to be involved in an auto accident than other drivers. In 2009, 3,000 teenagers were killed in accidents, according to the CDC.

Despite these close calls, many teens say they only change their driving habits for a few months at most. Experts are calling for parents to set good driving examples for their children and expose them to different driving experiences. This way, teens will be ready for the road when they are allowed to drive on their own.

Source: USA Today, "Most teen drivers admit to narrowly avoiding an accident," Jonathan Shorman, 28 June 2011

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Gregory R. Gifford
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