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Teenage girls twice as likely as teen boys to engage in distracted driving

Posted on Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

A new study released earlier this week by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that teenage girls are twice as likely as teen boys to use cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. The study used in-car video footage and was designed specifically to monitor distracted driving among teens, with AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger saying, “This new study provides the best view we’ve had about how and when teens engage in distracted driving behaviors believed to contribute to making car crashes the leading cause of death for teenagers.”

With traffic crashes ranking as the leading cause of death among young Americans, the study hoped to illuminate the type of behaviors that can often lead to accidents. According to the press release from the AAA Foundation, “The data for this report came from an analysis of video clips collected as part of a three-phase naturalistic study of 50 North Carolina families with novice teen drivers. The first study looked at how parents supervise their teens during the learner’s stage of GDL, and the second examined how teen behaviors and driving conditions shift during the transition to unsupervised driving. For the current study, 7,858 clips from the first six months of unsupervised driving were re-analyzed to investigate distraction specifically.”

Among the study’s most interesting findings, “Females were nearly twice as likely as males to use an electronic device while driving, and overall were nearly 10 percent more likely to be observed engaging in other distracted behaviors, such as reaching for an object in the vehicle (nearly 50 percent more likely than males) and eating or drinking (nearly 25 percent more likely).” However, the study also determined that male teens were “roughly twice as likely to turn around in their seats while driving, and were also more likely to communicate with people outside of the vehicle.”

The study highlights a major disparity between genders when it comes to distracted driving practices; a gap that may be the topic of future studies. In the press release, Kissinger suggests exploring gender differences with regard to distraction in future projects, adding, “Every insight we gain into driver behavior has the potential to lead us to new risk management strategies.”

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oblivion/3745388639/


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