Texting and other distractions at the wheel cause six in ten road crashes involving teenage drivers, according to new research.
One in eight road traffic accidents (12 per cent) are the result of the driver distracted by their smartphone, with 15 per cent of accidents caused by drivers talking to someone in their car.
The study, by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in America, analysed more than 2,200 videos from dashboard cameras in the moments leading up to collisions.
Jennifer Ryan, of the AAA Foundation, said: “It is no secret teens are extremely connected to their mobile phones.
“Many teens are texting or using social media behind the wheel more often than in the past, which is making an unsafe situation even worse.”
Only 1.5 per cent of UK driving licence holders are aged 17 to 19, yet teenage drivers are involved in nine per cent of all fatal and serious crashes in the UK.
The RAC says motorists checking their mobiles is still so commonplace that it should be considered as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving.
A study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute revealed that drivers are 23 times more at risk when texting, while another recent AAA Foundation survey found almost half of teen motorists admitted to reading messages while driving.
The third most common cause for crashes involving teens was drivers looking at or attending to something inside the vehicle.
The research was carried out in preparation for the ‘100 Deadliest Days’ for US drivers, so called due to the beginning of summer when there has been a historical increase in road traffic accidents involving motorists between the ages of 16 and 19.
Over the past five years, collisions involving teen drivers have seen more than 5,000 people lose their lives.
Jurek Grabowski, research director for the AAA Foundation, added: “This new research shows distraction continues to be one of the leading causes of crashes for teen drivers.
“By better understanding how teens are distracted on the road, we can better prevent deaths.”