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Study shows what distractions teens are most prone to

Oct. 20 to 26, 2019, was designated as Teen Driver Safety Week. Coinciding with this event, researchers from Michigan State University published the results of a study involving teen drivers and the distractions they are prone to. Parents in Pennsylvania will want to take note and warn their teens about the danger of distracted driving.

Between 2011 and 2013, researchers monitored 3,400 teen drivers via cameras and other equipment. This ability to look at what happens not only outside but also inside the vehicle led to highly accurate data. Previous studies, by contrast, have had to rely on police crash reports to determine what was happening prior to an accident.

Researchers were able to break down all the distractions observed in those drivers into more than 60 categories. They also determined what distractions lead to the most crashes. Looking at objects external to the vehicle was number one, followed by intense cellphone use. Phone use of all kinds, from talking on the phone to texting and surfing the web, was commonly observed.

Anything that takes a driver's eyes off the road is a distraction. There are even such things as cognitive distractions, such as daydreaming. It should be noted that teens are the most likely of any age group to get distracted.

Distracted driving is one of the most widespread forms of negligent driving along with drunk driving and drowsy driving. When it's a factor in motor vehicle crashes, those who are injured may have good grounds for a personal injury claim. In Pennsylvania, plaintiffs can recover damages as long as their degree of fault is less than the defendant's. To ensure a fair settlement, victims may want to retain legal representation. If a settlement cannot be achieved, the lawyer may assist with litigation.

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