Distracted driving, also called driver inattention, is a leading cause of car crashes.
Graphic: A teenage girl drives a car on a road lined with orange traffic cones while holding and looking at her cell phone.
Text: The majority of drivers who were distracted at the time of a crash were teens.i
Distracting tasks—such as texting or dialing—take the driver’s eyes off the forward roadway, making harder for him or her to react to unexpected hazards.
It is more dangerous for new teenage drivers to engage in distracting tasks while driving than it is for experienced adult drivers.ii
Tasks that take the driver’s eyes off the forward roadway, including reaching for things, increase crash risk!iii
Graphic: A red “No” symbol over a text message bubble icon.
Text: Sending or checking texts
Graphic: A red “No” symbol over a cell phone icon.
Text: Using a phone to make a call, check social media, take pictures, or play music
Graphic: A red “No” symbol over a location point icon.
Text: Looking at a map or GPS app
Graphic: A red “No” symbol over food and drink icons.
Text: Eating or drinking
Graphic: A red “No” symbol over icons of two people talking
Text: Talking to passengers, especially other teens
Graphic: A red “No” symbol over icons of a chair being adjusted.
Text: Adjusting seats, windows, mirrors, or a radio
How to Keep You and Your Teen Safe
Graphic: A teenage girl drives a car on the road with an adult male in the passenger seat.
Traffic cone graphics denote bullets in the list below.
- Supervise your newly licensed teen more closely than you think you need to. Ride with him or her when you can.
- Do not use your cell phone while driving. If you or your teen need to take a call, pull over to the side of the road.
- Limit your teen’s nighttime driving and driving with passengers, especially during his or her first 6 months of driving.
- You and your teen can agree, in writing, to a series of monthly “checkpoints”, easing restrictions as your teen’s judgement and experience improve.iv
- Model good behavior for your teen when you are behind the wheel.
NICHD is committed to understanding driving risks and studying ways to help keep teen drivers safe.
Learn more about ways to reduce accidents from distracted driving at https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving and https://www.nichd.nih.gov/DrivingRisk.
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