National Teen Driver Safety Awareness Week: Distracted Driving and Peer Passengers

Speed and driver inattention, aka-texting while driving…are some of the most common traffic violations made by teen drivers.

In part two of the Newsymom.com awareness series, Massillon Police Sgt. Brian Muntean brings attention to the issues of young drivers and the list of potential distractions.

When asked how he feels about the current cell phone and texting craze that often distracts teens behind the wheel, Sgt. Muntean explained, “It’s out of control. It’s an epidemic.”

He noted that the most common distraction that leads to teen driver crashes is texting.

“The bottom line is: You’re driving a 5,000-pound piece of metal down the road at about 100 feet per second. Do the math.”

According to the Ohio Revised Code, ‘No person shall drive a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street, highway, or property open to the public for vehicular traffic while using a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication.’

The law breakdown can be found here: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.204.

Sgt. Muntean added that another distraction for teen drivers is their peer passengers. He explained a group of teens in a car poses a greater risk for a crash. “I was a kid once with a fast car. I loved to show off the power of a V-8. I was stupid and I’m lucky to be alive today.”

Not to mention, when asked if peer drivers could influence teen drivers to participate in dangerous activity while behind the wheel, Sgt. Muntean answered, “absolutely.”

Additional information regarding teen drivers and peer passengers can be found here http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4507.071.

Teendrivingsource.org reported the following statistics when considering distracted teen drivers:

  • Just the act of dialing a cell phone increases crash risk by three times. In a naturalistic study of truckers, Virginia Tech researchers reported a 23-fold increase in the risk of a crash or near crash when drivers were text messaging.
  • For drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes, 19 percent of those distracted were distracted by the use of cell phones.
  • Some activities – such as texting – take the driver’s attention away from driving more frequently and for longer periods of time than other distractions.

For more information related to teen driver safety visit teendrivingsource.org or review the Ohio Revised Code to better understand related state laws.

On Wednesday, Sgt. Muntean will bring attention to teen drivers and seatbelt use and speeding.

Michaela Madison Reporting

(Photo courtesty of www.teendrivingsource.org)

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