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 The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

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: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>