Cellphones top distractions for drivers: Study


12 Jan 2012
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Cellphones top distractions for drivers: Study

WASHINGTON: Use of electronic devices is a leading distraction for teen drivers, and girls are twice as likely as boys to use cellphones or other electronic devices while driving, a new study has found.

The study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety also found that teenage drivers were three times more likely to take their eyes off the road when using these devices.

In the final phase of a three-part study that used data recorders in the cars of 50 North Carolina families with a novice teenage driver, researchers examined six months of video clips for each family.

A total of 52 drivers were recorded -- 38 of whom had just received their licenses, and 14 teen siblings.

In nearly 8,000 clips, electronic devices were used nearly 7 per cent of the time, accounting for more than any other distracted-driving behaviour, such as adjusting controls, eating and drinking or turning around.

And girls were the worst offenders. In video clips, they used electronic devices 7.9 per cent of the time, while boys clocked at 4 percent.

The time of day or day of week did not affect distracted-driving behaviour.

Carol Ronis, the foundation's senior communications manager, said the study was important because car crashes remained the leading cause of death for teenagers in America. Teen car crashes are roughly four times higher than they are for adults.

"We know that teen drivers are avid users of cellphones and other technologies," she told ABC News.

"Continue the conversation with your child. Set a good example. They are always watching and modelling our behaviours," she suggested giving an advice "Keep your hands on the wheel, eyes on the road and mind on the task."

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