Distracted driving accounts for more than half of all teenage driving crashes, with cell phone use among the most common reasons youngsters lose focus on the road, according to a AAA study.
Officials said the results follow what it termed "the most comprehensive research ever conducted into crash videos of teen drivers," and said it shows distraction-related incidents are far more prevalent than previously known.
Analyzing the six seconds leading up to crashes on event recorders in nearly 1,700 videos of teen drivers, officials cited distraction in 58 percent of all crashes. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration previously said that just 14 percent of all teen driver crashes were the result of distraction.
Distraction accounted for 89 percent of all road-departure crashes and 76 percent of all rear-end crashes, AAA said.
Cell phones accounted for 12 percent of all distractions, second only to interacting with passengers, which was cited in 15 percent of all distractions. Other factors included looking at something inside the vehicle (10 percent) and singing and/or moving to music (8 percent).