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Distracted driving a concern for teen passengers

Distracted driving poses a real threat on New York roads. Texting, surfing the internet or even using vehicle entertainment system can take drivers' minds and eyes away from the wheel and the road. This kind of dangerous driving has been linked to a disturbing upswing in serious car accidents, especially those involving injuries or fatalities. Teens in particular may be vulnerable to distracted driving, a particular concern as many are inexperienced drivers who are less able to respond to emergency situations.

According to one study, around 60% of parents said that their children reported being in a car while the driver was distracted. Researchers said that many parents focus on telling their kids to avoid distracted driving themselves. However, it can be just as important a safety message to advise teens to stay alert while getting a ride with someone else, particularly friends. Many driver education programs focus on telling teens themselves to stay safe behind the wheel. However, over 30% of teens ride in cars with other teens at least one or two times a week.

Parents expressed several concerns about teens riding with other young drivers. Around 45% of the parents expressed concerns about loud music, which poses a significantly lower risk to safety than other types of distractions. Some parents said that they prohibited their kids from traveling with other teens on the highway or late at night in an attempt to prevent a crash. Over two-thirds of parents banned kids from driving with other teens after midnight, for example.

Teen drivers have a responsibility to take care for others' safety when they get behind the wheel, even in a car full of distracting friends. People injured in a car crash caused by someone else's negligent driving may consult with a personal injury lawyer about their options to pursue compensation for their damages.

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