Phones are not the only distraction behind the wheel. Adolescents who reach for or handle other objects while driving are almost seven times more likely to crash than teens who don’t reach for anything at all.
“Compared to older drivers, teens’ limited driving experience and youthful characteristics may contribute to their higher risk for distraction when engaging in secondary tasks while driving,” said lead study author Pnina Gershon of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and disability among drivers ages 15 to 20, researchers note in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Teens who use cell phones while driving are almost three times more likely to crash than those who don’t.
Other tasks teens engage in that increased chances for crashing include interacting with passengers, using cell phone, reaching for snacks, drinks or other objects, and looking away from the road too long. Technology may be especially distracting for less experienced teen drivers.