Teenage driver distraction: Are parents partially to blame?

A new study revealed that when teens use their cellphones behind the wheel, they are often communicating with one of their parents.

Many parents in California hope that their teenage child won't use a cellphone when he or she gets behind the wheel. Although many parents have this desire, a new study revealed that parents may be partially to blame for the number of teenage distracted drivers on the roads.

How this study was conducted

To gain greater insight into what role parents play in teen cellphone use, CBS News states that researchers designed a survey that was based on in-person interviews they previously conducted with 13 teens. Using this model, the researchers then surveyed or interviewed approximately 400 drivers between the ages of 15 to 18.

Among the teenage drivers who participated, more than one-third of those between the ages of 15 to 17 said that they had spoken on the phone with one of their parents while driving. Additionally, half of the 18-year-old respondents said that they had participated in this same activity. Although this survey found that teenagers were more likely to text their friends while driving, it found that 16 percent of the 18-year-old participants had texted one of their parents behind the wheel. It was also discovered that eight percent of the 15 to 17-year-old drivers had done the same.

Why distracted driving is so dangerous

Regardless of who teenagers use their cellphone to communicate with behind the wheel, they endanger the lives of other drivers, passengers and pedestrians. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly nine deaths are caused and over 1,000 people are injured every day in collisions involving driver distraction.

Distracted driving isn't only limited to cellphone use. The CDC states that distracted driving involves any activity that takes a driver's full attention away from operating a vehicle. Additionally, there are three primary types of distraction, which include:

  • Manual - this form of distraction occurs when a driver takes his or her hands off of the steering wheel.
  • Cognitive - a driver who is no longer mentally focused on driving is cognitively distracted.
  • Visual - visual distraction occurs when a driver looks at something else besides the road in front of him or her.

However, texting while driving is one of the most dangerous forms of driver distraction because it combines visual, cognitive and manual distraction.

Recovering after an accident

Drivers in California who are involved in a distracted driving-related accident may sustain injuries that harm their ability to go back to their normal daily activities. If you incurred injuries in a motor vehicle collision, speak with an attorney to find out what compensation may be available to you.

Keywords: distracted, driving, accident, texting