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Distractions raise crash risk for newly licensed drivers

Eating, texting or rubbernecking while driving raises the risk of a crash or near-crash for drivers who just got their licenses. The risk increases even more when youngsters reach for or dial a phone while driving, research shows.

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Guest post by Nathan Seppa

While the danger of taking your eyes off the road makes intuitive sense, other research has shown that having any phone conversation while behind the wheel can be deadly.

The risk of a crash or near-crash for newly licensed drivers is tripled or greater when they are eating, texting or rubbernecking, Virginia Tech researchers report. The novice drivers’ danger increases even more when they are reaching for a cell phone or dialing it, data from in-car cameras indicate. The study appears in the Jan. 2 New England Journal of Medicine.

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