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AAA Study: Distracted Driving Getting Worse, Especially Among Young Drivers

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- With all the school programs and laws, you'd think distracted driving would be on the decline, but a new AAA study says it's getting worse, especially among young drivers.

The AAA study paints a picture of 16- to 19-year-old drivers speeding, running stop signs, and failing to yield the right of way, and then there are distractions.

Video from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety comes from cameras installed in cars as a safety program, and it shows time after time distracted teenage drivers taking their eyes off the road and getting into trouble.

Six out of every 10 accidents studied were caused by teens distracted by someone in the car or by cell phone use.

"Right now, we're losing 11 teens every day in the United States, 11 every day," said Jim Clair, of Ultimate Defensive Driving School.

Pennsylvania law restricts the number of unrelated young people in the car to one when a driver under 18 is behind the wheel.

But Pennsylvania State Trooper Robin Mungo says, "That doesn't come to our attention unless we are pulling them over for a violation, and then we can inquire about the passengers in the vehicle."

But Trooper Mungo says that's not the biggest problem.

"We see so often kids have these bad habits and it's because of what they are learning from their adult drivers," she says. "As parents who are teaching our kids how to drive, put the cell phone down, turn off the radio, talk about the traffic around you, talk about the road signs."

"Sixty percent of teens have seen their parents' texting and driving. How do they learn, they learn by watching their parents," says Clair.

With traffic accidents by far the number one killer of young people, Clair says teach your child to keep scanning the road and leave at least a six-second cushion ahead.

"If they have six seconds in front of them, that gives them six seconds to make a decision and still be okay," Clair said.

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