We work with victims of distracted driving accidents, and we are thankful for organizations like North Carolina’s Center for the Study of Young Drivers, which is trying to do something about the issue.
The Center for the Study of Young Drivers has been working since 2005 as a unit of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center. Its mission is to study the factors that contribute to the high crash rate among young drivers.
Among the issues the Center researches is distracted driving. Unfortunately, this reckless driving behavior is more prevalent among young drivers than older, more experienced drivers.
The Center worked with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety on a highly publicized, groundbreaking study that put cameras in the cars of newly licensed teenage drivers. The goal was to learn why the first six months as a licensed driver is such a risky period.
That study, published in March 2012, documented findings that are now widely cited among those who study distracted driving:
- Teenage drivers are at risk for distracted driving crashes because they are avid users of cell phones and other technologies, are inexperienced drivers, and are still developing in areas of the brain responsible for decision-making and dealing with risk.
- Use of electronic devices is the most common distracted driving behavior.
- Female drivers are nearly twice as likely as males to use an electronic device behind the wheel.
- The number of passengers and the characteristics of those passengers (e.g., teens vs. adults vs. young siblings) greatly affects teen drivers’ distraction.
The Center also studies drowsy driving among teenagers, the positive effects of North Carolina’s graduated driver’s license system, and the role parents can play in helping their teens develop safe driving habits.
Considering that more than 4,500 teens die on U.S. roadways each year, making motor vehicle crashes the leading cause of death among teenagers, the University of North Carolina is right to dedicate resources to the safety of potentially college-bound and college-age drivers.
At Riddle & Brantley, we applaud the Center, as we do all efforts to keep teen drivers safe and accident-free.