Teen Drivers in Their Natural Habitat

(YouTube link)

You say you never text while driving. You should still worry, because these teenagers are out there on the same roads you drive. While it happens to all age groups, teenagers are most likely to believe they are more competent than they really are. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety issued a report on teen drivers who crash due to distracted driving. This video is a sampling of some of those crashes, which are mostly due to cell phone use, and the horrible habit of texting while driving. The very first thing any new driver should learn is the importance of constant observation. Traffic is like a complicated mass dance, with most of the dancers at less-than-professional level. So you have to not only see where you are going, but where everyone else on the road is, front, back, and sides, plus where they are going and how fast. The ability to map that dance takes constant observation and a lot of practice.

The video analysis detailed in the report found that distracted driving contributes to four times as many accidents as indicated through police reports. And you can see that many of these accidents will never involve a police report, as there is often no other car involved. Of course, what intrigued me was how they got so much video of crashes that weren’t staged. The explanation is in the report:

Lytx, a company that has been collecting data using in-vehicle event recorders (IVERs) for over a decade, provided the crash data. Their DriveCam system collects video, audio and accelerometer data when a driver triggers the device by hard braking, fast cornering, or an impact that exceeds a certain g-force. Each video is 12-seconds long, and provides information on the 8 seconds before and 4 seconds after the trigger. The system has a wide range of applications—families use them to help young drivers as they begin to drive independently, while over 500 commercial and government fleets employ them for fleet management.

Crashes examined in this study involved drivers aged 16-19 who were participating in a teen driving program that involved the use of a DriveCam system. Ltyx made 6,842 videos of crashes that occurred between August 2007 and July 2013 available for review. In order to reduce this number and to eliminate minor curb strikes from the analysis, those crashes in which the vehicle sustained forces less than 1g were excluded. Crashes in which the DriveCam equipped vehicle was struck from behind were excluded. Additional videos were excluded for other reasons (e.g., animal strikes, video problems, or the driver not being a teen). A total of 1,691 moderate-to-severe crashes met the inclusion criteria and were analyzed for the current study.

Such a system seems like it might be a good idea for probationary drivers, maybe for a year or until they prove their competence. -via Viral Viral Videos

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My husband tells me these systems are indeed used for professional truck drivers. While they may provide valuable evidence in case of accidents, I’ve heard stories of trucking companies that routinely use them to find enough company rule infractions to justify not paying the drivers.
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