With a number of young drivers going on spring break, drivers around the St. Louis area may be getting nervous about more teens on the road who will be texting while driving, talking on their phones or even having complete meals while behind the wheel. Yes, most young drivers understand that texting while driving is a bad idea, but they may not realize that distracted driving goes beyond using a cell phone.
Essentially, a growing number of teens are taking distracted driving to new (yet dangerous) levels. A study conducted by Oregon State University found that some young drivers apply makeup, change contact lenses and even do their homework while behind the wheel. Indeed, only a small number of teen drivers will take distracted driving to these extremes, but it exemplifies the concerns that many drivers (including law enforcement) have when it comes to teen drivers.
Most importantly, it also highlights the fact that the failure to use reasonable care can lead to liability in the event of an accident. There is an expectation that a driver will act as a reasonable person would while behind the wheel. This means that drivers are expected to limit distractions while behind the wheel, obey traffic laws, and avoid other risky behaviors like drinking alcohol before driving.
If a driver fails to use reasonable care and such a failure leads to an accident, the offending driver could be held liable for the crash and ensuing injuries. We hope that all teens drive safely during spring break.