Driven to Distraction

Talking on your cell phone is just one of the 15 things that may cause you to be driven to distraction.

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Drivers talking on cell phones have been vilified as reckless and dangerous. But they're not the only ones causing crashes because their attention isn't squarely on the task at hand.

A Virginia Commonwealth University study, conducted with the assistance of state and local police, found that cell phone use is only sixth on the list of causes for crashes by distracted drivers. Rubbernecking -- looking out the window at an accident or traffic jam -- is first. Distracted driving accounts for about 13 percent of all crashes.

The take-home lesson here is simple yet powerful: The road requires your full attention. Any teenage drivers in your household need to know that too. Statistics show they're much more likely to crash if they're chatting with friends in the car. Here are the top 15 distractions that caused accidents:

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Rank Type of Distraction
Percent
1 Looking at a crash, vehicle, or roadside incident
16
2 Driver fatigue
12
3 Looking at scenery
10
4 Passenger or child distraction
9
5 Adjusting radio or CD player
7
6 Cell phone use
5
7 Eyes not on road
4.5
8 Daydreaming
4
9 Eating or drinking
4
10 Adjusting car controls
4
11 Weather conditions
2
12 Unknown
2
13 Insect or animal
2
14 Reading a map or document
2
15 Emotional distress
2

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