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Habits That Distract Drivers Are Not Going Away

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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Award-winning journalist Paula Ebben co-anchors WBZ-TV News at 6PM...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Distracted driving is a problem for drivers of all ages, but it is particularly hazardous for teenagers.

A new survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found some troubling behaviors are not going away. Mobile devices continue to be the biggest distraction behind the wheel. Researchers at AAA analyzed almost 8,000 video clips of unsupervised teenage drivers.

They found teen girls were nearly twice as likely as teen boys to use electronic devices while driving.

The consequences of multitasking while driving are real. For example, a texting driver is 23 times more likely to get in a crash.

Texting isn’t the only problem. Adjusting controls, personal grooming, and eating all compromised attention to the road.

Peter Kissinger, president of the foundation, said, “If they’re traveling at 65 miles per hour, for example, they can travel the length of a basketball court in one second. So if you take your eyes off the road just briefly, and something happens in front of you, it can be catastrophic.”

Rowdy passengers can be another distraction for young drivers. The videos showed loud conversations and horseplay were much likely when a group of teens was in the car.

In addition to short term consequences for poor driving by a teen, experts say parents should reinforce habits that will last a lifetime.

“This study is focused on 16, 17, and 18 year old teenagers, but distracted driving is something that affects all of us,” said Kissinger. “The sooner we learn better habits, the sooner we get a safer driving culture, if you will, the safer we will all be on the nation’s highways.”

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