Transportation & Vehicle Safety Policy

Policy brief: UI study finds significant shifts occurring in distracted teen driving

Carney, C.; McGehee, D.V.; Harland, K.K.; Weiss, M.; Raby, M.


Teens crash at a much higher rate than adults, with distractions found as a factor in nearly six out of ten moderate-to-severe teen driver crashes. In the largest naturalistic study of teen driver crashes to date, vehicle safety researchers at the University of Iowa analyzed thousands of naturalistic driving video and audio clips to identify the types of crashes teens are most frequently involved in, along with the distractions or activities competing for their attention. The results showed significant shifts in certain distracted driving behaviors, including increases in rear-end crashes associated with teens operating/looking at cell phones. New technologies like automatic emergency braking will help reduce or prevent these crashes in the future.