-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
TUESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- Summer is the most dangerous
time of the year for teen drivers and distracted driving is often
the reason why, experts say.
Seven of the 10 deadliest days for teen drivers occur between
Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to a news release from the
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and AAA.
In 2011 alone, 10 percent of crashes involving injuries were
linked to driver distraction. Moreover, the U.S. National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that 11 percent of all
drivers younger than 20 who were involved in a deadly crash were
reportedly distracted at the time of the accident.
Sending or receiving texts while driving takes drivers' eyes off
the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, according to the U.S.
Department of Transportation. That's the equivalent of driving the
length of a football field, blind, at 44 miles per hour, the
experts noted in the news release.
Drivers are more than three times more likely to get in a car
accident while reaching for something in their car and 23 times
more likely to crash while texting, according to NHTSA
Due to the prevalence and dangers of distracted driving, the
AAOS and AAA have joined forces to sponsor the "Decide to Drive"
campaign, which urges teen drivers to stay focused and keep their
hands on the steering wheel and their eyes on the road.
"Orthopaedic surgeons are the medical doctors who put bones and limbs back together after road crashes and trauma," AAOS president Dr. Joshua Jacobs said in the news release. "We want to prevent distracted driving injuries, including those involving young drivers, and keep them and their passengers safe and strong for life."
The Decide to Drive campaign offers teens and adult drivers a
"Wreck-less Checklist" to help them remember that when they are
behind the wheel, nothing is more important than driving.
According to the checklist, drivers should do the following
before they even start their car:
"For young drivers -- or any driver for that matter -- their first priority is the safe operation of their car or truck, which means eyes on the road and hands on the wheel," Robert Strassburger, vice president of safety at the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said in the news release.
The checklist also highlights several tips young people should
keep in mind while they are driving, including:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
safe teen driving.
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