BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new study finds it’s not younger, but older teens that pose a greater risk on the road.
George Solis has more on the findings
In short, the study finds that the older teens get, the more confidence they gain behind the wheel, but that can lead to more risky behavior. Specifically, getting on their phones when they shouldn’t be.
A horrifying moment is caught in real time and put on display for the world to see. Obdulia Sanchez records a live Instagram feed while behind the wheel.
The 18-year-old lost control of the car. The crash killed her 14-year-old sister.
The tragedy shed light on a study that finds older, specifically high school seniors are significantly more likely than sophomores and freshman to be on their phones and use apps like Snapchat, music, and GPS.
“It may be that the tendency for teenagers is that you start cautious and you get more and more experienced and if they feel more confident if they feel more powerful they may jump to more risky behavior.”
Safe driving advocates say if you do have to have your phone in the car at least keep it some place that’s not so easily accessible. For starters, the glove box.
“You put it in your pocket, you keep it in your pocket you turn it all the way on mute so you’re not getting the buzzing you’re not getting the phone call.”
Maryland Students Against Destructive Decisions say another concern with older teens is making sure they’re also not engaging in underage drinking and driving
With impaired judgment, they’re obviously more likely to engage in distracted driving.
According to the Maryland MVA in 2015, three and a half percent of drivers arrested for DUI were under the age of 21.
The same year 40 percent of drivers ages 15 to 20 admitted to talking on a cell phone, and 35 percent admitting to texting and driving.
“It’s the era of the phone”
One mom says the findings are concerning, but not entirely surprising.
She says all she can do is encourage safe driving to ensure what happened to Obdulia Sanchez and her sister doesn’t happen.
Other parents make it clear driving privileges depend on being a responsible driver.
“If she were to ever find out something happened and I was texting because of it that’d be it for me and driving”
Students also noted that as teens get older, parents tend to be less strict.
As a reminder to all, in Maryland, it is illegal to be on your phone while driving.