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Distracted driving common cause of teen car accidents

Most of us know how dangerous distracted driving is and the increased role it plays in car accidents in Illinois. Distracted driving can impact all drivers. However, a new study found that distractions contributed to more car accidents involving teenagers than previously thought.

Researchers from the University of Iowa completed the study by analyzing roughly 1,700 videos of teen drivers. The researchers reported that distractions contributed to 60 percent of car crashes classified as moderate to severe. 

This study's findings highlight the serious risks teens face behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that distractions only contributed to 14 percent of teenagers' car accidents. 

The fact that distractions play a bigger role in accidents among teenagers is not that surprising. However, the types of distractions include more than cellphone use. 

In addition to cellphone use, which can include texting and talking on the phone, the researchers reported that talking to other passengers in the vehicle, reaching for something, looking out the window and grooming also contributed to crashes. 

Many people may be surprised to see that talking to other passengers or looking for something plays such a big role in accidents, but when you really think about it, it shouldn't be that surprising. Taking your eyes and attention off the road even for a few seconds can result in a horrific accident, especially when driving at high speeds.

Distractions can play a significant role in the risk of getting into an accident. This study shows that distractions are not just caused by cellphone use, and that all drivers need to be paying attention to the road at all times. 

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Distracted driving a key contributor to teen crashes, study shows," Ted Gregory, March 25, 2015

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