Distracted Driving: Keeping Teens Safe on the Road
Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) April 29, 2014 – It is more important than ever for parents to help teen drivers avoid distractions behind the wheel, says a prominent Chicago attorney.
“The fact is, cell phone use while driving is prevalent in all age groups. But it is especially dangerous for teenagers to be distracted while driving because they have less driving experience,” indicates Paul Greenberg, a Chicago car accident attorney. “Driving already requires attention to multiple tasks simultaneously, so it is risky to try to pay attention to anything else.”
Research suggests that many areas of the brain are still developing during adolescence, including areas responsible for making decisions and forming judgments. Such findings indicate that teenagers may have more difficulty managing distractions while driving.
Illinois law prohibits the use of handheld cell phones while driving, except for emergency calls. A hands-free device must be used instead. However, all cell phone use, including use with hands-free devices, is prohibited for all drivers under age 19. Texting while driving is prohibited for all drivers.
“Drivers under age 19 are not permitted to use cell phones while driving in any case,” points out Greenberg. “Parents can set a good example by not only following the law regarding hands-free devices themselves, but by choosing to limit all cell phone use while driving with their children, even if it is with a hands-free device.”
Although the use of a hands-free device allows the driver to use both hands for the task of driving, studies have shown that the cognitive distraction of the conversation causes many accidents. Personal technology may not even be the cause of a distraction.
“Drivers can be distracted by conversations taking place in the vehicle as well,” observes Greenberg. “That is why young drivers in their first year of driving are limited to one passenger under the age of 20 other than family members.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 3,331 deaths and 387,000 injuries caused by distracted driving in 2011. Among drivers under age 20 involved in a fatal crash, 11 percent were reported to be distracted at the time of the accident.
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