Young Drivers Fail CBS4’s Distracted Driving Test

By Britt Moreno

The idea for this story stemmed from an email I received from a Denver father. He told me his son was hit by a vehicle and the person behind that wheel was using his phone. While I cannot prove this particular fact, the accident encouraged us to consider the roads in a different way.

In addition to this note, Snapchat recently made headlines when a teenage girl snapped a photo of herself cruising at 107 mph in a 45 mph zone. She crashed into another SUV and then snapped a photo of herself with the caption “lucky to be alive.” The driver of the SUV is suing her family and Snapchat.

DENVER (CBS4) – You may notice more people looking at screens rather than the road.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

These days it is more than just texting that beckons drivers to look at phones. Now more than ever, drivers are opening apps on their phones.

The Colorado Department of Transportation confirmed there are more instances of distracted driving connected to accidents. There is a 16 percent increase in distracted driving crashes in the last four years. CDOT also reports an 11 percent increase in fatalities overall since 2014.

We wondered how safely people can communicate while driving, so we experimented with five young adults ranging in age from 17 to 21.

Britt Moreno (credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

We challenged them to a three-part test at Master Drive in Denver, where we asked them to navigate a driving course under different pressures.

The first test was merely to drive the course without hitting the cones and without any distractions.

Then, I asked them to respond to my text messages.

(credit: CBS)

Britt Moreno is seen through the windshield sending a text to one of the drivers (credit: CBS)

Two out of five could not respond and drive. Others hit cones or traveled at a snail’s pace to effectively send the text.

In the last part of the test, I asked the group to snap a video of them driving and use the driving filter on Snapchat. This would indicate how fast they were going.

The fastest speed clocked in at 13.1 mph.

The test subjects unanimously admitted had they been off the course. And on real roadways at faster speeds the stakes would be higher and conditions much more dangerous.

Brody, 18, said “Texting was harder than Snapchat.” And Santiago, 21, said “It’s scary. No one should be able to this. I was going only 15 mph, but imagine if I were going faster.”

Britt Moreno anchors the CBS4 morning and noon newscasts and is the Wednesday’s Child reporter. She loves hearing from viewers. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @brittmorenotv.

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