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HHS HealthBeat (February 5, 2014)

Eyes on the road

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study indicates that, for a dangerous amount of time, drivers are not watching the road.

At the National Institutes of Health, researcher Bruce Simons-Morton looked at data on about 150 new teen drivers and experienced adults in the Washington, D.C., area and southwestern Virginia. Their cars had cameras that watched them, and sensors that recorded when the car did things like brake fast, swerve, or drift across lanes.

Simons-Morton was looking at secondary tasks – things that took the driver’s eyes off the road:

“About 10 percent of the time, teenage and adult drivers were engaged in some distracting secondary task.”

Dialing a cellphone was the worst. Drivers were more likely to have a crash or a near miss while dialing.

The study was in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: February 5, 2014