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Are girls more prone to distracted driving?

Any of our San Diego readers who have been paying attention to news stories and government releases in the past year will likely be surprised by the fact that teenage drivers are among the most dangerous motorists in the country. For many years, the primary cause of the increased auto accident risk among teen drivers was a lack of driving skill and experience.

In recent years, however, distraction has become the focus of the government's efforts to increase teen driver safety. A recent study has reached an interesting conclusion which may help further narrow that focus: teenage girls are 10 percent more likely to engage in distracted behavior behind the wheel than teenage boys.

In the study, which was completed by the AAA Foundation, researchers examined nearly 8,000 in-car camera recordings of unsupervised teenage drivers. The clips revealed that cell phones and other electronic devices were the most common distractions for teens, and that girls were about twice more likely to talk on cell phones behind the wheel than boys.

Other common sources of distraction were eating and drinking, adjusting music and other vehicle controls, and grooming. Older teenagers were more likely to engage in careless behavior behind the wheel than newly-licensed drivers, and more passengers in the car increased the risk of a car crash or similar incident.

According to federal government statistics, motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. Hopefully, this study will be an impetus for California and other states to increase the strength of their teen driving laws.

Source: Daily Herald, "Girls twice as likely to talk, text while driving," Marni Pyke, Mar. 27, 2012

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