Driver inattention is the number one cause of motor vehicle crashes.
- Drivers are distracted about 10% of the time they are behind the wheel.
- Distracting secondary tasks—such as texting or dialing—take the driver’s eyes off the forward roadway, making it harder for him or her to react to unexpected hazards.
- Engaging in distracting tasks is more dangerous for novice teenage drivers than experienced adult drivers.
Distracting tasks that take the driver’s eyes off the forward roadway increase crash risk!
- Sending or checking texts
- Using a phone to dial, check social media, take pictures, or play music
- Looking at a map or GPS
- Eating or drinking
- Talking to other passengers, especially other teens
- Adjusting a radio, windows, or mirrors in the car
How can you keep your teen safe?
- Supervise your newly licensed teen more closely than you think you need to. Ride with him/her when you can.
- Do not allow cell phone use while driving. If your teen needs to take a call, remind him/her to pull over to the side of the road.
- Limit nighttime driving and driving with passengers, especially during the first 6 months after your teen gets a license.
- Agree, in writing, to a series of monthly “checkpoints,” easing restrictions as your teen’s judgment and experience improve.
- Model good behavior when you are behind the wheel.
The NICHD is committed to research on driving risks and ways to help keep teen drivers safe.
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, HHS. (2012) Distracted Driving Awareness Month & NICHD Research on Young Drivers
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, HHS (2014) Drivers engaged in other tasks about 10 percent of the time
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, HHS (2013) Driving Risk