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Originally published April 16 2015

Cell phone distracted teen drivers pose a FAR greater threat to public safety than unvaccinated children

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Distracted teenage drivers could be responsible for more than half a million auto accidents per year, causing more than 1,600 deaths, suggests a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The new findings are much higher than previous estimates by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The study data, collected from video cameras mounted inside of automobiles, found that distractions such as cell phones or other passengers caused nearly 60 percent of moderate and severe automobile crashes by teenage drivers.

Passengers, cell phones most common distractions

The researchers analyzed approximately 1,700 videos taken as part of the DriveCam program, which places video cameras in the cars of private drivers in order to help improve their driving. The cameras are activated (recording audio, video and acceleration) "by hard braking, fast cornering or an impact that exceeds a certain g-force." All the videos analyzed were from teenage drivers.

The researchers found that some form of driver distraction played a role in 58 percent of collisions. The rate was even higher for rear-end collisions (76 percent) and crashes in which the vehicle left the road (89 percent).

The top distraction was drivers interacting with other passengers, responsible for about 15 percent crashes. This was closely followed by talking, texting or viewing the screen on a cell phone (12 percent).

According to government statistics, drivers aged 16 to 19 were involved in 963,000 police-reported crashes in 2013, leading to 383,000 injuries and 2,865 deaths. If the new data are representative, that would make distracted teenagers drivers responsible for more than 200,000 injuries and 1,660 deaths. Teenagers distracted by cell phones alone would kill 343 people per year.

The researchers also analyzed the time it took drivers to react to potential dangers, and found that drivers who were on cell phones failed to react at all half the time. They also found that the people who used cellphones while driving had their eyes off the road for an average of 4.1 of the 6 seconds immediately preceding their collisions.

Other forms of distraction included looking at something inside the vehicle (10 percent of all crashes), looking at something outside the vehicle but not at the road (9 percent), singing or dancing (8 percent), reaching for an object inside the vehicle (6 percent) and grooming behavior, such as checking hair (6 percent).

Greater threat than vaccine refusal

The AAA numbers stand in stark contrast to the numbers of deaths that could be attributed to unvaccinated children, even if we make the (proven false) assumption that such children are responsible for all deaths from diseases for which vaccines exist.

No measles deaths have been recorded in the United States since 2003 -- in spite of the media hysteria about recent the Disneyland outbreak. In fact, there were only 500 measles deaths total per year before the vaccine was even introduced. Likewise, only 20 people died from pertussis in 2012, the most of any year since 1955.

These numbers nowhere near approach the more than 1,660 killed by distracted teen drivers (itself a low estimate). Indeed, the AAA findings suggest that thousands of lives per year could be saved if even a fraction of the money put into vaccine-promoting campaigns were instead put into teen driver education, or into supporting the AAA's efforts to push for wider adoption of graduated license programs (in which new drivers only gradually gain driving privileges as they gain more experience on the road).


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