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Survey reports teen distraction is a major factor while driving

According to survey data compiled by a transportation engineering faculty member at Oregon State University, responsible motorists in Illinois and other parts of the country may face a heightened risk from teenage drivers. More than a quarter of teens surveyed reported engaging in dangerous behaviors like changing apparel while driving. Although the researchers lauded an overall reduction in the fraction of teenagers who composed or read text messages while driving, an approximate 40 percent of teen motorists continued to text.

The study stressed that distracted driving was the main problem and noted that it was the most common cause of motor incidents, regardless of driver age. To counter the problem, the academics proposed driver education classes that used practical examples to demonstrate how hard it is to multitask safely.

Other potentially hazardous distractions identified by the study's authors included operating radios and GPS units, and some teenagers admitted to changing their contact lenses and completing homework assignments on the road. The lead researcher maintained, however, that teens were undereducated about the risks of such behaviors, and a scientist at the National Institutes of Health expressed the opinion that the study was moving the discussion in the right direction.

Negligent drivers come in all types, and some are simply unaware of the threat they pose to others on the road. This doesn't make the accidents they cause any less severe, however, and their victims may sustain serious physical, emotional or mental harm. Recovering from a car accident takes time and usually represents a significant expense; medical treatments, property repairs and other costs can leave survivors financially drained. Because some motorists are underinsured or completely without protection, it may be helpful to consult with a legal adviser on the best way to pursue damages.

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