Medical Minute: Teen Drivers

Posted at: 04/21/2014 11:25 AM

More teens die from motor vehicle collisions than any other cause. Now, new research is hoping to give answers as to why and hopefully prevent these tragic accidents before they occur. ABC News Senior Medical Contributor Dr. Timothy Johnson has more in this Medical Minute.

Teens behind the wheel can be a potentially nerve-racking experience for any parent, and for good reason. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for these young people.

Now, researchers are looking into the reasons why teen drivers get into accidents, and it turns out talking and texting at the wheel are just two parts of the picture.

The studies are published in the Journal of Adolescent Health and they teased out several other factors that contribute to adolescents being more prone to mishaps while driving. True, distractions are part of the problem but other factors, like inexperience and immaturity also play a role.

One hazard: Teen drivers having their friends in the car with them. Teens also appear more likely to try doing other tasks while driving.

For parents, the message is clear. Tell your teen that while they are at the wheel, their attention should be nowhere else. It's a simple and important reminder any time your teen grabs the car keys and heads for the door.