Ohio parents may be surprised to learn of the wide variety of distracting activities teenagers have reported engaging in while they are driving. While texting and driving remains the most problematic behavior, teens report doing many other things while they are behind the wheel, including changing clothing and shoes.

In a study led by a member of the Oregon State University faculty, 27 percent of teenage respondents reported they had changed articles of clothing while driving. In addition to this behavior, they reported doing their homework while driving, applying makeup and changing their contact lens. Approximately 40 percent of those surveyed reported texting while driving, which is lower than numbers from some prior studies.

The researcher who led the study recommends that driver’s education programs should include a strong component regarding distracted driving. Such programs have been shown to be effective in reducing this behavior. Teens should be educated about the dangers of all types of multitasking while they are driving. Even things like switching radio stations, eating and adjusting GPS coordinates while driving take a driver’s attention away from the road and increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents.

Teenagers are the least experienced drivers on the road. They are thus probably more likely to be less aware of the risks involved with distracted driving. Such behavior increases the risk for both themselves as well as for others on the road around them. Taking attention away from the road can cause a driver to drift out of the lane or have a rear-end collision. People who are seriously injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver may wish to speak with a personal injury attorney to determine the possibility of filing a lawsuit for the recovery of damages.

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