Theisen & Associates, LLC

Young drivers face many distractions

Distractions on the road cause many accidents in the United States. There has been a surge in deadly crashes in the last few years, and many people point to smartphones as the reason why. While other dangers have traditionally trended downward -- like drunk driving -- distractions have only become more common as the smartphone influence has spread.

Common distractions

If you just look at phones, you can find many sources of distraction. They include:

  • Sending text messages
  • Reading texts
  • Accessing social media
  • Streaming music
  • Watching videos
  • Taking pictures
  • Taking videos
  • Using the GPS
  • Making phone calls

Generally, people tend to give texting and driving the most attention, but it's important not to act like it's the only issue. Plus, there are plenty of in-car distractions that go beyond the phone, such as:

  • Talking to passengers
  • Doing personal grooming
  • Reading a map or GPS
  • Gawking at accidents
  • Reading road signs
  • Getting lost in thought
  • Dealing with pets in the car
  • Eating in the car

The problem with distracted driving is that you can't fight the issue on just one front. It's not as simple, in that sense, as drunk driving. You have to consider all distractions and the impact they can have.

Experience and distractions

It's not just teenagers. That's also important to note because adults cause a lot of distracted driving accidents and teens often get the most criticism. That said, while it's not just them, it's clear that distraction impacts their age group at a high rate, and that's a deadly combination when you think about their lack of experience.

"Teenagers have the least amount of driving experience and driver distractions are the most common cause of crashes involving teens," said the director of the Office of Traffic Safety. "While drivers of all ages are guilty of being distracted in the car, it is crucial that our youngest drivers understand the risks and are motivated to avoid picking up bad habits behind the wheel."

She makes a very good point in calling them bad habits. The benefit of trying to educate young people about these risks is that you can push them in the direction of healthy, safe habits when they're first learning to drive. It may be far harder to change the habits of a driver in their 30s or 40s who has spent decades forming these bad habits and refuses to change.

After a crash

Have you gotten hit by a distracted driver? Regardless of that driver's age or the type of distraction that led to the crash, make sure you fully understand the legal options you have in Indiana to seek out financial compensation.

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