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Multitasking while driving is a risky habit among teens

Awareness campaigns highlighting the dangers of texting while driving have reduced the prevalence of this risky behavior among teens in Arkansas and across the country, but reports suggest that many teens don't realize that any type of multitasking behind the wheel can prove disastrous. According to a study conducted by an assistant professor at Oregon State University, texting while driving among teens has dropped to 40 percent. However, 27 percent of students surveyed reported that they change clothes, put on makeup do homework and take part in other risky behaviors while driving. Distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents among people of all ages.

The survey asked students in Oregon, Washington and Idaho to participate in an interactive driver's education class. The researchers led the students through exercises designed to highlight the dangers of distracted driving in a safe environment.

Within the safety of a classroom, instructors asked students to attempt various tasks, such as talking on the phone while simultaneously writing numbers on a chalkboard. After the short lesson, a survey showed that the participants were slightly more aware of the risks involved in multitasking behind the wheel. A behavioral scientist who researches accident prevention and adolescent driving noted that this experiment is a good start because similar attempts to alter teen behavior have proven unsuccessful.

In a situation in which an individual is injured in a car accident involving a distracted driver, a personal injury lawyer may be able to file a claim on behalf of the victim. If a death occurs, the victim's loved ones may be able to receive compensation from the responsible party for funeral expenses, lost income and other damages.

Source: NPR, "Teens Say They Change Clothes And Do Homework While Driving," Maanvi Singh, March 18, 2015

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