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Teens should know, texting isn't the only form of distraction

When most people hear the term distracted driving now, they oftentimes think exclusively of texting and driving. This is due in part because of numerous national campaigns that have been geared toward teen drivers to get the message out about the risks of distracted driving. Whether you've read about it on our blog or heard the message from one of these campaigns, you probably know all about the serious and fatal consequences of distracted driving.

But even though these campaigns do appear to be working -- fewer teens are reporting that they text and drive now than they did in past studies -- distracted driving continues to be the leading cause of collisions for teenage drivers. So what's going on? As a study out of Oregon state reveals, teens may not be aware of the fact that there are other distractions behind the wheel.

In a study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University, it was discovered that some teens are still performing actions while driving that any adults would consider reckless and dangerous. From doing homework to changing their clothes, it would seem as if some teens haven't gotten the message about distracted driving in all its forms. This is a huge problem across the nation, including here in Indiana, because it means distracted driving is still a problem that might not be adequately addressed in many national campaigns.

If we really want to address the problem of distracted driving then we need to make it clear to all drivers, including teens, that anything that takes your attention away from the task of driving is a distraction. We also need to continue to drive the point home that these distractions can and typically do lead to serious and even fatal crashes. If we do not approach the subject of distracted driving as a whole, we aren't giving drivers the full message about how dangerous it really is.

Source: NPR, "Teens Say They Change Clothes And Do Homework While Driving," Maanvi Singh, March 18, 2015

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