Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Distracted driving among teens threatens public health and safety

17.04.2014

Insights from key investigators provide new answers, reports the Journal of Adolescent Health

Motor vehicle crashes rank as the leading cause of teen deaths and in 2008, 16% of all distraction-related fatal automobile crashes involved drivers under 20 years of age.

These grim statistics, coupled with an increasing nationwide awareness of the dangers of distracted driving for all ages, prompted the publication of an important supplement to the Journal of Adolescent Health that explores the causes of distracted driving and offers practical recommendations to reduce the incidence of distracted driving among teens.

"Although public health efforts have made some progress in reducing risk of adolescent motor vehicle crashes over the last three decades, new technologies and evolving behavior patterns have focused attention on the risk of distracted driving," observes Guest Editor C. Raymond Bingham, PhD, from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Ann Arbor, MI.

"For many of the same reasons that alcohol-impaired driving represents a distinct risk for adolescents, distracted driving has an elevated impact on this age group. The unique challenge posed by the proliferation of new technological distractions may accelerate this risk behavior and may lend itself to innovative prevention efforts."

The issues involved are not simple. While there are many different causes of distracted driving, the aim of the supplement is to take a broad view of the topic instead of focusing on the individual sources of distraction.

The goal is to give researchers, practitioners, lawmakers, parents, and teens a better understanding of why distracted driving is a potentially deadly activity and steps that might be taken to reduce the number of crashes it causes.

An important issue for the public as well as legislators, former United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood comments, "This special Journal of Adolescent Health supplement brings the important issue of driver distraction and young drivers into focus. The articles presented cover a variety of the influences on young drivers' distractibility and safety as well as the important influence of parents, peers, and technology.

While there is no single (simple or quick) solution to this problem, this research can lay a substantive foundation for additional debate and informed and effective policies to address the complex problem of distracted driving among young drivers and the larger driving population as a whole."

The supplement examines the issues surrounding distracted driving by teens, exploring developmental states and changes that are associated with adolescents' distractibility and their relation to driving, examining patterns of distraction among newly licensed adolescents as well as brain function, considering the potential role played by parental modeling of distracted behavior while driving, accounting for the role of technology and the influence of peer passengers and society norms, and investigating policy, legislation, and intervention.

One of the ideas that the supplement highlights is that there are a multitude of complicated factors that result in teens being more vulnerable to the effects of distracted driving than other age groups. In the article "Adolescence, Attention Allocation, and Driving Safety," by Daniel Romer, PhD, et al, the authors explore the explanations behind why teens fail to pay attention, including brain immaturity and lack of driving experience. Their review points to extensive new driver training as a way to help compensate for the unique problems teenage drivers face when it comes to focusing on the road.

Another issue the supplement addresses is what can specifically be done to prevent distracted driving among teens. "Young Driver Distraction: State of the Evidence and Directions for Behavior Change Programs," by Lisa Buckley, PhD, et al, discusses different methods used to both educate and prevent distracted driving. While the authors argue that legislative and contextual interventions can be effective prevention strategies, they also recognize that there is an unmet need for behavioral change programs designed to pinpoint the most at-risk groups, identify their risk and protective factors, and then design effective interventions tailored to their specific needs.

Current evidence regarding laws to limit cell phone use for talking or texting that are now in place in many jurisdictions suggests that these laws are either ineffective or may have an unintended effect, according to Johnathon P. Ehsani, PhD, and co-authors in "The Impact of Michigan's Text Messaging Restriction on Motor Vehicle Crashes."

Dr. Bingham concludes, "In the near future, and perhaps for years to come, reducing driver distraction to increase roadway safety is going to be increasingly challenging. As automated functions increase in vehicles, drivers are likely to feel that their attention to the road is less necessary." He continues, "Cultural attitudes and values and the public's tolerance for distracted driving need to be targeted by informative and persuasive public health campaigns that make evident the need and create a public demand for individual behavior change."

Eileen Leahy | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.elsevier.com

Further reports about: Elsevier Health Transportation adolescents distraction

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Is Marriage Good or Bad for the Figure?
29.06.2015 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht Fructose produces less rewarding sensations in the brain
25.06.2015 | Universität Basel

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Viaducts with wind turbines, the new renewable energy source

Wind turbines could be installed under some of the biggest bridges on the road network to produce electricity. So it is confirmed by calculations carried out by a European researchers team, that have taken a viaduct in the Canary Islands as a reference. This concept could be applied in heavily built-up territories or natural areas with new constructions limitations.

The Juncal Viaduct, in Gran Canaria, has served as a reference for Spanish and British researchers to verify that the wind blowing between the pillars on this...

Im Focus: X-rays and electrons join forces to map catalytic reactions in real-time

New technique combines electron microscopy and synchrotron X-rays to track chemical reactions under real operating conditions

A new technique pioneered at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory reveals atomic-scale changes during catalytic reactions in real...

Im Focus: Iron: A biological element?

Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and a half billion years ago.

Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and...

Im Focus: Thousands of Droplets for Diagnostics

Researchers develop new method enabling DNA molecules to be counted in just 30 minutes

A team of scientists including PhD student Friedrich Schuler from the Laboratory of MEMS Applications at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of...

Im Focus: Bionic eye clinical trial results show long-term safety, efficacy vision-restoring implant

Patients using Argus II experienced significant improvement in visual function and quality of life

The three-year clinical trial results of the retinal implant popularly known as the "bionic eye," have proven the long-term efficacy, safety and reliability of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine in Leipzig: Last chance to submit abstracts until 2 July

25.06.2015 | Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine: Abstract Submission has been extended to 24 June

16.06.2015 | Event News

MUSE hosting Europe’s largest science communication conference

11.06.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Siemens acquires leading UK enforcement provider Zenco Systems

02.07.2015 | Press release

Viaducts with wind turbines, the new renewable energy source

02.07.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

NASA sees heavy rain in Tropical Cyclone Chan-Hom

02.07.2015 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>