Teen Driving & Distracted Driving | Driver Safety IQ | ND DOT

Driving IQ // Distracted Driving

The leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes
is distracted driving.


The Double Whammy


Whammy 1:
Teens and drivers up to the age of 25 have the most car crashes.

Whammy 2:
The leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes is distracted driving.

Put the two together, and you have all you need to make your day really bad if you have a crash, or life-changing if your crash injures or kills someone. As a teen, you are at especially high risk if you drive and talk or text on the cell phone, reach for something, eat, adjust music selection, shave or put on makeup, or if you drive drowsy.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute recently completed a study of 100 cars. They placed tracking and sensing devices in each car for over a year. The 241 drivers of the vehicles were involved in 82 crashes and 761 near crashes.

They found that reaching for a moving object like a bottle of soda falling out of the cup holder increased the risk of a crash or near-crash by nine times; looking at an object outside of the car by 3.7 times; reading or applying makeup increased risk by 3 times; and talking or listening on a cell phone by 1.3 times.

The most common distraction for drivers was cell phones. Even though cell phone use is less risky than some of the other items, the sheer amount of it occurring while driving makes it a significant contributor to car crashes.

Drowsy driving is a serious problem among teens, increasing a driver's risk of crash or a near-crash by at least four times.

Today, you can begin by being a safer driver.

  • If your cell phone rings while driving, do not answer it until you can pull over safely. Do not dial anyone while you're driving either. It's just not that important.
  • If something falls off the seat or from a cup holder, fight the urge to grab it. It's better to spill the soda on the seat than to cause a crash.
  • If you're tired, don't drive. Pull over in a safe place and rest.

Driving is a privilege, and not a right. Be careful so you can keep the privilege.

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