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Study Says Young Drivers Should Not Use Cell Phone While Driving

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Using your cell phone while driving can be a distraction for anyone, but according to a new study, it can be worse for younger drivers.

David Willis is a senior researcher with the Texas Transportation Institute. He says this study could be the first of many.

"The reason for this is very young teen drivers about 16 or 17 years old really don't know how to scan the driving environment to look for hazards," says Willis.

The study found that when drivers 17 to 25 talk on cell phones, they take on the tendencies of an elderly driver. Moving and reacting more slowly and increasing their risk of an accident. Willis says it doesn't matter whether the phone is hand-held or hands free.

"There's been research done at Ford Motor Company a few years ago comparing teens with adult drivers and teens were four times as likely to miss things they should be seeing ahead of them whether their hand held or hands free," says Willis.

Studies have been done looking at where teens eyes were when driving while talking on phones. Willis says the majority of the drivers didn't get as far as the end of the hood, proving they're not scanning their surroundings.

"It’s fine to have a phone in a car. I know a lot of parents are concerned they want their kids to be able to call them if there's a problem. It’s great to have a cell phone in a car but just don't use it when you're driving, use it when you're stopped," adds Willis.