New study researches the link between music and unsafe teenage driving

Newly licensed teens in Bergen County are eager to begin driving and excited that their ability to legally drive gives them freedom. However, what many teens don't realize is that their behavior while driving affects others on the road. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals ranging from the ages of 16 to 19 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident.

Music and teen driving

There are several reasons why teenagers are at a higher risk for being involved in vehicle accidents. Teenagers are less likely to underestimate potentially dangerous driving situations and are more likely to speed and not give enough room behind their vehicle and the driver ahead of them.

In addition to these causes, distractions like music can be another reason why teens are at greater risk for accidents. A study was recently published in Accident Analysis & Prevention that explored the link between music and teen drivers. The study found that the type of music the teen was listening to had an impact on the way they were driving rather than just listening to music in general, says the Wall Street Journal.

The study was conducted at a university in Israel and collected the findings of 85 drivers that were approximately 18 years old. Each driver went on a series of road trips accompanied by a driving instructor. A variety of music was played during each trip including styles such as soft rock, light jazz, instrumental arrangements, and fast-paced music. At the end of every drive, the instructor would rate the teenager's driving and the driver would write down their mood.

Results showed that when the music was the preference of the teen's that the teenage driver increased the volume and 98% of these studied drivers made mistakes. In comparison, when the teen was listening to what the study labeled "safe driving music" only 77 percent of the teen drivers made errors.

Teen driving rules in New Jersey

To reduce the number of distractions teens experience while driving and to prevent accidents and fatalities, the state of New Jersey has enacted several teen driving regulations. Teenager drivers:

  • Cannot drive between the hours of 11:01 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Are only allowed to have one other person in the car with them unless a parent or guardian is with them.
  • Are not permitted to use their cell phone or any other hand-held electronic devices.
  • Must wear their seatbelt.
  • Have GDL decals on their vehicle whenever they drive.

Although there are many laws set forth by the state of New Jersey to prevent accidents caused by teenage drivers, collisions still occur. If you were in an accident caused by a teenage driver, consult with an attorney to determine what steps you should take next.