Terrifying dashcam video captures distracted teen drivers crashing while goofing off

Self-driving cars can't arrive fast enough. Video analysis by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that distraction is a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes. The foundation says this is four times as many as official estimates based on police reports. In this video, some of those examples captured on in-car dashcams.

Researchers analyzed the six seconds leading up to a crash in nearly 1,700 videos of teen drivers taken from in-vehicle event recorders. The results showed that distraction was a factor in 58 percent of all crashes studied, including 89 percent of road-departure crashes and 76 percent of rear-end crashes. NHTSA previously has estimated that distraction is a factor in only 14 percent of all teen driver crashes.

…Researchers found that drivers manipulating their cell phone (includes calling, texting or other uses), had their eyes off the road for an average of 4.1 out of the final six seconds leading up to a crash. The researchers also measured reaction times in rear-end crashes and found that teen drivers using a cell phone failed to react more than half of the time before the impact, meaning they crashed without braking or steering.

According to AAA, the most common forms of distraction leading up to a crash by a teen driver included:

• Interacting with one or more passengers: 15 percent of crashes

• Cell phone use: 12 percent of crashes

• Looking at something in the vehicle: 10 percent of crashes

• Looking at something outside the vehicle: 9 percent of crashes

• Singing/moving to music: 8 percent of crashes

• Grooming: 6 percent of crashes

• Reaching for an object: 6 percent of crashes.

[via Reddit]