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AAA Survey Explores Causes Of Teen Drivers' Distraction

Distracted driving, whether it's sending text messages or handing your child a snack, is hardly a problem limited to teenage drivers. But still, as Chicago Daily Herald article explores, teenagers lack driving experience and also are the most frequent users of handheld technology.

Although proponents of tougher distracted driving laws insist that distractions can sometimes be just as dangerous as alcohol-impairment, Illinois motorists cited for texting while driving typically don't need the services of Chicago DUI lawyers.

The AAA survey found that although teenagers understand the potential dangers of texting, talking on the cell phone, fiddling with the stereo and eating while driving, they do it anyway because they don't think anything bad will happen to them.

The automotive organization's Chicago spokeswoman, Beth Mosher, said traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. She said teens are used to multi-tasking, lack driving experience and don't fully appreciate the dangers of distracted driving:

"The way teens handle potential crashes is different (from adults). They overcompensate. They often don't pay attention to all that could happen on the roadway and do not know how the car will react as well as adults who have been driving for years do."

AAA surveyed nearly 2,000 drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 about their driving habits. Alarmingly, 86 percent of them admitted to having driven while distracted and 84 percent of them acknowledged that it was dangerous to do so.

But most of the distractions were caused not by texting while driving (28 percent), but by adjusting their car stereo or MP3 player (73 percent); while 61 percent were distracted by eating and 60 percent talked on a cell phone while driving.

Overall, according to AAA, a whopping 80 percent of car crashes are due to distracted driving.

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