5 things young drivers need to know about distractions

Distractions are a bigger issue on the roads than ever, and they're especially common with young people. Many new drivers have been around smartphones and social media for nearly their entire lives, and they're very connected. It's hard to step away when behind the wheel. However, distractions can be very dangerous and are often deadly. Below are five critical things young drivers must know.

1. Teens have the highest distraction rates for any age group.

Reports indicate that 10 percent of all deadly accidents involving drivers between 15 and 19 years of age were linked to distractions. While other age groups do fall victim to distractions, no group has as many distraction-related accidents as these teen drivers.

2. Some distraction numbers have been rising.

Distracted driving has really been an issue for years, and much has been done to put an end to it, but the rates keep going up. For example, the percentage of people visibly using mobile devices behind the wheel was just 1.7 in 2013, but it jumped all the way to 2.2 percent the following year.

3. 660,000 people are using mobile devices while driving.

That's not a daily, weekly, or monthly number. The government reports that is the number of distracted American drivers at almost any given time.

4. Distracted drivers look down for about 5 seconds.

Of course, every incident is different, but the average amount of time people take their eyes from the road when they're distracted is five seconds. It may not sound like much, but you could drive more than 100 yards - the length of a football field - essentially blind.

5. Distractions go beyond texting.

Texting is the top mobile device distraction. However, serious distractions also include going on social media sites, using maps and GPS systems, playing music, watching videos and more. Anything you do with a cellphone is a potential distraction that can lead to a crash.

People often assume that they can deal with distractions easily. They hear the numbers, but they think it won't happen to them. They'll just change the song on the phone really quickly, or read a text message but not respond, or just text at stop lights. They rationalize it and try to drive with distractions, and it eventually leads to accidents.

The statistics show that this problem isn't going away. Some of the numbers above, like the amount of distracted drivers at any given time, have held steady for more than half a decade. Those who are hit by distracted drivers and injured need to know what rights they have to seek compensation after their right to a safe traveling experience have been violated.

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