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Observing social dynamics could play into teen driver distraction

It's perhaps not fair to paint with a broad brush and say that teens are the most risky drivers without looking into the reasons why this is true. One researcher, in a study later published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), said that social dynamics could play into it in many ways.

For one thing, there's the impact of peer pressure. When teens face pressure from friends while behind the wheel, they may make mistakes or take risks.

On top of that, teens are concerned about social dynamics and fitting in. Even if they don't realize it, they're constantly reacting to these things.

Driving may be simply one way in which they do it, and it can impact their "standing" within the group. If one teen can drive and the others cannot, he or she may appear more mature. Other teens may be impressed. This could lead to the desire to show off.

Moreover, when teens are all in the car together, the very positioning of the driver and the passengers can make a difference.

Drivers are told repeatedly to think about nothing but driving. However, the driver in a car full of teens likely wants to look at his or her friends. It's important for conversation, picking up on social cues and staying involved. While the passengers may have no trouble interacting, a driver can feel excluded. This can stress teens out, lead to distraction and take a teen driver's eyes off of the road.

A 4,000-pound SUV full of teens can be a serious hazard to others on the roads in and around Houston. If you're hit by a stressed, distracted driver, you must know what legal rights you have to compensation for medical bills and more.

Source: NCBI, "Characteristics of Adolescence That Can Affect Driving," accessed June 20, 2017

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Brian Jensen

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