Study Finds Teen Drivers Distracted

The Chicago injury law firm of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. notes a study appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine which notes that novice drivers are more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors over time as they become more accustomed to driving. The study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute compared the driving habits of experienced drivers vs. novice drivers. The drivers were videoed and drove cars equipped with data collecting computers.

The data from the study showed that during the first six months driving novice drivers engaged in tasks like texting, dialing, reaching for a phone, reaching for other things, eating and adjusting controls less than the experienced drivers. During the period between 7 months and 15 months, the novice drivers matched the experienced drivers in the amount of distracted behaviors. Then, during the period of 16 months and 18 months after starting to drive the distracted driving behaviors shot up two-fold.

The study had significant findings that have important implications as far as Illinois driving laws. The study found that tasks involving hand -held cell phones increases the risk of crashing by three times. Equally important, use of hands-free cellphones is not that much safer than hand held phones. It is interesting to note that Illinois banned the use of hand-held cell phones while driving beginning in January of 2014 but still allows the us of hands free cell phones while driving.

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