Distracted teens at high risk for having motor vehicle accidents

Just about everyone in Missouri will have a story about seeing a person behind the wheel of an automobile who is looking down and clearly using a mobile device instead of looking straight ahead and watching what they should be watching: the road. The problem is getting worse, not better, and government agencies and researchers are seeking ways to understand the problem and prevent it. Teenagers are especially prone to distracted driving, and this can cause motor vehicle accidents that result in injuries and fatalities. Keeping track of studies is important to dealing with this problem.

A study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that Missouri teens are among the worst in the U.S. when it comes to texting and driving. According to the research, 47 percent of Missouri teens stated that they texted while driving. The survey was taken in 2015 and spoke to students across the nation. At least 100,000 teens took part in the survey. The numbers might be worse as many teens do not tell the truth about their behaviors when behind the wheel, because they do not want to face trouble because of it.

A program that is meant to help students avoid car accidents says that many distracted driving behaviors stem not from texting, but from using social media apps and GPS. Since teens are inexperienced to begin with and will be unavoidably dangerous because of that, adding the prevalence of texting and driving and other use of mobile devices can increase the risk significantly. In Missouri, it is illegal for people under 21 to text and drive. For those older than 21, it has not yet been outlawed.

Auto accidents can cause serious injuries and fatalities. When a person is in a crash, the problem of distracted driving has become so widespread people may automatically think that the cause of the crash was distracted driving. An investigation is critical to determine how and why the accident happened, and can be a key to a legal filing to pursue compensation for medical costs, lost wages and more.