Distracted Driving Dangerous to Everyone, Especially Novices

Distracted DrivingDistracted driving leads to an increased risk of traffic accidents. This may not come as any surprise at all to anyone, but it’s still interesting to see some actual numbers.

A newly released study published in The New England Journal of Medicine confirms distracted drivers of all ages and skill levels face a high accident risk when they aren’t paying attention to the road. This might make you take a second look at all the cars around you!

Distracted Driving Data

One of the most interesting parts of this particular study is that a GPS, an acceleration tracker and multiple cameras monitored the vehicles of 151 licensed American drivers (109 experienced and 42 novices) to discover what they were doing when they got into an accident (or barely avoided one).

Everything played out as expected, except for one thing: the act of simply talking on their cell phones didn’t dramatically increase one’s risk of accident. The actual distracted driving cause seemed to be the activities occurring just before the conversation, such as reaching for a ringing phone or dialing a desired phone number. As you might expect, the odds for a mishap were even higher among the novice drivers.

All told, there were 685 crashes or near misses that were deemed the fault of the driver, though none of the recorded accidents resulted in serious injury for anyone involved. Some of the more interesting distracted driving findings included:

Experienced drivers were 2.5 times more likely to have an accident while trying to make a call. If that’s not bad enough, the same scenario for the novices (those who have driven for 19 months are less)  jumps to 8.3!

Texting’s Dangerous, Too!

Of course, texting and driving is hazardous for anyone – especially the novices, who are four times more likely to get into an accident. All told, these novices make up about 6.4% of US drivers – but they’re involved in 10% of all motor vehicle fatalities, and 14% of all accidents that result in some kind of injury.

Novices have a greater probability of accident during times of distracted driving for a couple reasons. First, they have less experience behind the wheel. Second, they don’t understand the risks involved in distracted driving, so they are more likely to be involved in this dangerous activity.