New AAA study says teen distracted driving much worse than previously thought

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CHICAGO – A new study by AAA says teen drivers are even more distracted than we thought.

According to the study, distractions cause nearly 60 percent of all crashes involving teen drivers.

That’s four times more than previously estimated.

We all know cell phone use is a big distraction, but the study found the biggest distraction for teens is actually interacting with other passengers while driving.

According to the new study, 12 percent of teen driver crashes are caused by cell phone use, while 15 percent are caused by interacting with other passengers in the vehicle.

AAA hopes states see the study and improve rules for new drivers.

Currently in Illinois drivers younger than 19 can’t use phones -- not even hands free devices.

Also, teens can only have one passenger in their car under 20 years old for their first year of driving, unless it’s a family member.

Thirty-three states have laws preventing cell phone use for teens. 18 states have passenger restrictions that meet AAA’s recommendations.

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