Teen girls are twice as likely as teen boys to use cellphones and other electronic devices while driving, according to a new in-car video study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Electronic devices were the leading cause of distractions for teen drivers. Other distractions included adjusting controls, personal grooming, and eating and drinking. Many of the distracting behaviors, including using cellphones while driving, were more prevalent among older teens.
Girls were almost twice as likely as boys to use an electronic device while driving, and overall were almost 10 percent more likely to engage in other distracted behaviors, such as reaching for an object in the vehicle (almost 50 percent more likely than boys) and eating or drinking (almost 25 percent more likely). Boys, on the other hand, were about twice as likely to turn around in their seats while driving, and were also more likely to communicate with people outside of the vehicle.
"The gender differences with regard to distraction observed in this study raise some points that we'll want to investigate in future projects," Peter Kissinger, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety president and CEO, said in a news release. "Every insight we gain into driver behavior has the potential to lead us to new risk management strategies."
Teens were less likely to get distracted when parents or other adults were passengers. They were more than twice as likely to have loud conversations or engage in horseplay when they had more than one teen passenger. Horseplay and noisy conversations are associated with crashes.
The data for the report came from an analysis of video clips collected as part of a three-phase naturalistic study of 50 North Carolina families with novice teen drivers.