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A car accident is more likely for teen drivers who blast music

We're generally concerned with whatever it is that our mind is focused on. In Georgia and elsewhere when a person is driving, a car accident will be significantly less likely when the driver is focused on driving. But that may be difficult for a teen who likes to hot-rod through the streets while blasting his favorite rock collection. A new research report published in the Journal of Accident, Analysis and Prevention indicates several driving deficiencies of 17 and 18-year-old new drivers that are facilitated when they are blasting heavy metal and engaging in "active listening."

Active listening can include humming or singing along, and tapping out the beat or otherwise getting absorbed. Researchers recorded driving deficiencies significantly more often in these drivers. The deficiencies included speeding, aggressive driving, tailgating, one-handed steering, getting traffic violations, along with aggressive and distracted lane-switching and passing.

Conversely, an "alternate" music collection that included easy listening, soft rock or light jazz, resulted in a 20 percent decrease in driving errors. The conclusion: choose your music more carefully. Researchers even suggested that for risky situations, such as fatigue, at night, in highly congested traffic, after party letdown, or when a driver is a bit tipsy or very emotional, the more soothing music could increase safety for the "ride home."

Although the U.S. National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration has concluded that adjusting a radio or other music player while driving is a distraction that could interfere with driving, it has not studied the effect of music itself. The NHTSA, however, did point out that in 2011 more than 390,000 Americans were in a car crash with a distracted driver, and that the under-20 set is the age group with the largest proportion of distracted drivers. In Georgia and elsewhere, adults and authority figures can perhaps begin to educate teens on cutting down on distractions, which could then have an impact of reducing a car accident from occurring.

Source:, For teens, favorite tunes may impair driving, Alan Mozes, Sept. 3, 2013

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