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Teens multitasking behind the wheel increases risk of crash

Before teenagers can get their driver's license, they have to take educational classes and pass the state test before they are allowed to drive. New drivers may understand the rules of the road and be cautious at first, but a new study found that new teen drivers start to drive distracted after just a couple months of driving. 

The study found that new teen drivers try to drive safely right after getting their license but after a few months, they start to multitask behind the wheel. Multitasking can be very dangerous for all drivers, but teen drivers face more risks due to their lack of driving experience and ability to recognize potential hazards on the road.

The study found that new teen drivers are more likely to get into a motor vehicle accident if they multitask while driving. Common behaviors teen drivers try to complete while driving includes eating, changing the radio, talking to passengers and dialing on a cellphone. The study also noted that even experienced drivers had a higher risk for being in an accident if they dialed on their cellphone. The study found that teen drivers started texting, eating and changing the radio just as often as older, more experienced drivers.

The researchers said it isn't surprising that teen drivers try to multitask just a few months after getting their driver's license. They said that most teens try to increase the difficulty of a task until they make a mistake, like get into a car crash. 

This study shows why teen drivers have a higher chance of being in a serious or fatal car accident. If teen drivers think they can multitask while driving with only a few months of driving experience, they must be unaware of the hazards they face on the road and the dangerous situation they are putting themselves in. 

Teen drivers and their parents should be aware of the dangers of multitasking behind the wheel, especially if they've only had their driver's license for a short time. It takes time to gain valuable driving experience, and teen drivers need to practice safe driving behaviors at all times to stay safe on the road.

Source: Wisconsin Public Radio, "When Teen Drivers Multitask, They're Even Worse Than Adults," Maanvi Singh, Jan. 1, 2014

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