Washington, Jan 2: A new study has warned that drivers are constantly engaging in distracting activities like eating, texting and grabbing the mobile, about 10 percent of the time while on the road.
Risks of distracted driving were greatest for newly licensed teen drivers, who were substantially more likely than adults to be involved in a crash or near miss while texting or engaging in tasks secondary to driving, according to the researchers from the National Institutes of Health and Virginia Tech.
Anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road can be dangerous, said study co-author Bruce Simons-Morton, of the NIH institute where the study was conducted.
But the study shows these distracting practices are especially risky for novice drivers, who haven’t developed sound safety judgment behind the wheel, Simons-Morton said.
Experienced adults were more than twice as likely to crash or have a near miss when dialing a cell phone as when they did not dial and drive, but did not have an increased risk while engaging in other tasks secondary to driving.
However, the researchers found that distracted driving substantially increased the risks for new drivers.
Compared to when they were not involved in secondary tasks, novice teen drivers were eight times more likely to crash or have a near miss when dialing and seven to eight times more likely when reaching for a phone or other object.
They were also almost four times more likely when texting and three times more likely when eating.
The study authors concluded that these data and their results indicate distraction appears to be an important contributor to this increased crash risk.
The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine. (ANI)