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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — A recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found significant evidence that distracted driving is a much more serious problem than previously known.

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“The unprecedented video analysis finds that distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes, which is four times as many as official estimates based on police reports,” the study finds.

Researchers reviewed the six seconds leading up to a crash in nearly 1,700 incidents of teen drivers taken from in-vehicle cameras. The results showed that distraction was a factor in 58 percent of all crashes.

More specifically, distraction accounted for 89 percent of road-departure crashes and 76 percent of rear-end crashes.

The NHTSA had previously estimated distraction as a factor in only 14 percent of all teen crashes.

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“Access to crash videos has allowed us to better understand the moments leading up to a vehicle impact in a way that was previously impossible,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “The in-depth analysis provides indisputable evidence that teen drivers are distracted in a much greater percentage of crashes than we previously realized.”

The most common forms of distraction: interacting with one or more passengers (15 percent), cell phone use (12 percent), and looking at something in the vehicle (10 percent).

Grooming was also found to be a factor in 6 percent of crashes.

“It is troubling that passengers and cell phones were the most common forms of distraction given that these factors can increase crash risks for teen drivers,” said AAA CEO Bob Darbelnet. “The situation is made worse by the fact that young drivers have spent less time behind the wheel and cannot draw upon their previous experience to manage unsafe conditions.”

AAA says that teens have the highest crash rate of any group in the U.S. — accounting for roughly 963,000 police-reported crashes in 2013.

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