The State of Arizona employs a graduated driver’s license protocol for teen drivers for a reason. It is essentially the public policy of the state that the youngest drivers need additional experience behind the wheel before they can have their full driving privileges. Because of this, drivers who have their licenses for the first six months must follow detailed rules regarding how many non-adult passengers they can have in the car, and when they can drive (i.e. before a certain time in the evening).
These rules are also based in part because of the potential for distracted driving (when they have additional passengers in the car). While this notion is based on crash data, a recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety provided numbers that suggested that more teen drivers were distracted before being involved in a crash.
Researchers poured over more than 1,500 dashboard camera videos that showed teens in the moments before a crash. Not only were they talking on cell phones, they were also sending and receiving text messages, looking for items in the vehicles and having exuberant conversations with friends. These distractions were the cause of more than half of the crashes reported.
Even more disturbing, the videos gave researchers first-hand knowledge of what actually caused a crash; especially considering that many police reports did not detail distractions as the cause of a crash. Hence the larger estimates regarding distracted driving.
The big takeaway is that teens must use reasonable care while behind the wheel. This means that they must limit distractions to the greatest extent possible so that they can reduce the likelihood of being in a crash.