Study finds teen drivers are often distracted

Study finds teen drivers are often distracted
About 36% of parents justify their own bad behavior because they have more driving experience. (Source: Raycom)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - When it comes to teens behind the wheel, many are driving distracted, according to a new study.

"With a teenaged daughter, you know you let them go out and you wonder if they're gonna come home," Region 8 dad Rodney Hampton said.

The AAA Foundation conducted the study that focused on teen's driving habits by mounting cameras in their cars.

Of the over 6,800 videos examined by AAA, more than half of the wrecks happened because of distracted driving.

"It's just always a real worry for parents nowadays," Hampton said.

Hampton explained that his daughter Allison has been driving for a few years now.

"I have a 17-year-old daughter who started driving, of course, when she was 16," Hampton said. "She got her permit when she was 14 and of course she's had a little fender bender like most teens."

That study by the AAA shows over 75% of rear-end crashes by teens are a direct result of distracted driving.

However, Hampton said distracted driving doesn't have an age limit.

"You pass cars and not only teens but adult drivers with the cell phones in their hands and they're texting and driving," Hampton said. "Sometimes it's too late before they see what's going on."

Jonesboro police said it's something they see far too often.

"If you take the eyes off the road, just for a second or two, that's when the accident happens," Sgt. George Martin told Region 8 News.

Sgt. Martin said distraction doesn't just come in the form of cell phones either.

"Believe it or not, we've had a few where eating has been a factor in the wreck," Sgt. Martin said.

When it comes to distracted driving, Hampton's daughter Allison said she doesn't want to become another statistic.

"I always put my phone in the glove box," Allison said. "That way I'm not distracted even just to look at my phone."

Allison said one of the most important driving tips her parents passed down to her is to drive defensively.

"My parents mainly tell me just to be a cautious driver, you know and not only look out for the way I'm driving but watch out for other drivers too."

Arkansas law prohibits texting while driving, regardless of the driver's age. As it is a primary offense, officers can pull you over for texting while driving even if you haven't made other driving violations.

Copyright 2015 KAIT. All Rights Reserved.