We all know that texting and driving don't mix. But a new study has found that the crash risk is 700 times greater when the driver is inexperienced behind the wheel. Other driving distractions - such as eating, dialing a phone, and changing radio stations also greatly increase the accident risk for newer drivers.
According to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, inexperienced drivers have a much greater risk of a crash when they are distracted while driving. Researchers studied the driving patterns of 42 new drivers - aged 16 or 17 - who had a driver's license for three weeks or less and compared the results with those from 167 adult drivers with more experience behind the wheel. Researchers used accelerometers, GPS devices, cameras, and other sensors to record incidents of cell phone use, reaching for objects, texting, adjusting radios or other auto controls, and eating and drinking.
For the teenaged drivers, eating almost tripled the risk for a crash. Texting quadrupled it. The most dangerous activity for the new drivers was dialing a phone which resulted in eight times the crash risk.
Experienced drivers, on the other hand, only saw an increased accident risk from dialing a phone.
It's a good reminder for all of us to avoid distractions and expect the unexpected on the road. And for teens and other new drivers to skip the multitasking and keep their focus on driving if they are behind the wheel.
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