A danger to themselves

Young drivers most at risk of accidents caused by distractions

The danger posed by distractions while driving is much more pronounced in new drivers than in those with more experience, a new study finds.

The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, tracked 42 drivers ages 16 and 17 and 167 adults with more experience using accelerometers, cameras, GPS devices and other sensors, according to The New York Times. The researchers found that an inexperienced driver reaching for a cell phone increased her or his risk of an accident by more than 700 percent; texting or looking at an object on the side of the road quadrupled it; and eating while driving tripled the risk. The most dangerous activity of all was dialing a phone, which increased risk of a crash by eight times.

For experienced drivers, only dialing a phone significantly increased their risk of a crash.