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Young adults who involve in risks while driving are more suseptical to experience psychological distress, including mental health problems such as anxiety and depression reveals research published ahead of print in Injury Prevention. Teenagers are good at talking on the phone. But they're not such good drivers -- especially if they're trying to do both at the same time.

Teen drivers dangerously divide their attention

Most young drivers are engaged in distracted driving even though almost all are aware that it's dangerous.

Almost nine out of 10 young drivers (86%) have driven while distracted, even though 84% say they know they shouldn't. More than one-third of the young drivers said they had nearly crashed because of their own or someone else's distracted driving.

Young drivershave more accidents and are more likely to be involved in a accident in which someone dies than older drivers, and risky behavior is known to contribute to crashes involving young inexperienced drivers.

Psychological distress, such as depression and anxiety, has been linked to uncontrollable behavior in teenagers, including unprotected sex, smoking and high alcohol consumption. World researchers have therefore started out to find if there was any similar link between psychological distress and risk taking by young drivers, like speeding, not wearing a seat belt and using a mobile phone while at the wheel. Studies show the youngest drivers have the highest crash rates and highway accidents are the leading causes of death for people ages 15 to 20.

Researchers in Queensland, Australia requested 761 young fresh young drivers to fill out an online questionnaire to assess their psychological distress and their normal driving behavior. The young drivers were aged 17-25 years and had a provisional (intermediate) driver's license which entitled them to drive unaccompanied.

Psychological distress alone was found to result for 8.5% of the supposed risky driving behavior of young drivers. The distress level was greater in women than in men; 9.5% of the variance in risky driving could be explained due to psychological distress in women compared with 6.7% in men.

The authors suggested that similar research could be used to identify young drivers who are most at risk of psychological distress and therefore causing a greater accident risk on the road through risky driving behavior.

"Young drivers presenting to medical and mental health professionals could be screened for current psychological distress, particularly if they have incurred injury through risky and unruly behavior," they quoted.idn pokerThese drivers should be targeted with specific road safety countermeasures and efforts should be made to improve their mental wellbeing by monitoring them for signs of depression and anxiety at an early stage.


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