Teens often distracted while they are driving

Published in CQ Researcher, a new study has suggested that teenage motorists are often distracted when at the wheel. Its findings show that this age group is more susceptible than most when it comes to taking their mind off the road.

David Hosansky, author of the report Distracted Driving: Should Driver Texting and Cellphone Use Be Banned?, noted 16 per cent of all drivers aged 20 or under involved in fatal car collisions were distracted at the time of the accident.

Mr Hosansky, who was referring to estimations made by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, observed this percentage was the highest for any age group.

He explained texting while in control of a car is a particularly perilous activity, as people typically take their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds when sending a message.

Another mobile phone danger is talking while driving, as doing so can be more distracting than holding a conversation with someone in the car.

Mr Hosansky said this "consumes additional cognitive resources, including creating a mental picture of the person on the other end of the conversation".

Dr Lisa Dorn, Reader in Driving Behaviour at Cranfield University and a Chartered Psychologist, comments:

"“Having a mobile phone conversation while driving increases the risk of being involved in a crash by up to ten times. It is likely that the risk will be even greater for young drivers choosing to text and drive due to a lethal combination of insufficient driving experience and focusing on the text message rather than on road hazards.”