Distracted Driving and Young Workers
Youth are typically new to the world of work and the increased responsibilities and hazards they may encounter. Young workers bring special talents and advantages to the workplace, but also have a need for increased guidance and protections. In many settings, the occupational health and safety risks may jeopardize their well-being. For a variety of reasons, including developmental issues, incomplete perceptions about the presence of danger in various work situations can lead to certain risk-taking behaviors, including multitasking. Additionally, cell phone usage, particularly texting, is common among youth who use this method of communication often. Driving and texting impairs us all, regardless of age, by diminishing our focus. Youth have an increased risk of danger due to the increased exposure to this hazard.
Driving Restrictions for Workers Younger than 18: The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits workers under 18 years of age from working as a motor-vehicle driver or outside helper on any public road or highway except that 17 year-olds may drive automobiles and trucks on an incidental and occasional basis if certain criteria are met. [See Hazardous Order 2].
Crash Rates for Young Drivers Are High: In the United States, the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16-19 year-olds is nearly 3 times the rate for drivers ages 20 and over. Risk is highest at ages 16-17. A total of 3,115 teenagers ages 13-19 died in motor vehicle crashes in 2010. [See Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Fatality Facts]
Young Drivers and Distracted Driving: When it comes to distracted driving, young people are among the most likely to text and talk behind the wheel. 16% of all distracted driving crashes involved drivers under 20. [See Distraction.gov – FAQs]
Young Distracted Drivers and Fatal Crashes: 10% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted. [See Distraction.gov – Key Facts and Statistics]