ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – In New Mexico, about one in every 10 teen drivers get into an accident each year, with the results ranging from fender-benders to fatal crashes, according to the New Mexico Department of Transportation.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety wanted to find out why those teen crashes – and crashes across the country – were happening.
They installed the cameras inside the cars of teen drivers, and studied the seconds before and after 1,600 accidents.
They found nearly six in 10 crashes happened because the drivers were distracted – four times higher than data previously suggested.
“One of the things that is not intuitive to a teenager is that, when they do take their eyes off the road, that they need to bring (them) back,” said Peter Kissinger, president and CEO.
After phone use, the biggest distraction danger for teens is having someone else in the car. According to the study, it doubles the risk of someone being in a crash. New Mexico gives young drivers a provisional license for a year, which doesn’t allow more than one underage passenger in a car, unless they’re family.
The NMDOT says there’s a crash caused by distracted adult or teen driver every hour in New Mexico.