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Candid camera: Md. teens agree to pilot safety study

Saturday - 7/30/2011, 2:00pm  ET

Michelle Basch, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Some local teens agreed to drive for a whole year with a special camera mounted inside their car, and the safety study led to some interesting findings.

The DriveCam program uses a video camera that's activated every time something unusual happens, like swerving, sudden braking, or a crash. When activated, the camera records video both inside and outside the car so parents can see what happened and how the driver reacted.

More than 200 16- to 20-year-olds in Calvert, Charles and Saint Mary's counties agreed to take part in a pilot program funded by the Maryland State Highway Administration's Highway Safety Office.

Southern Maryland Newspapers Online reports thousands of recordings were made and excessive speed triggered 93 percent of them. An improper curve or turn was involved in 84 percent of the recordings.

The study also checked seatbelt use, and findings hint that if a teen driver doesn't wear a seatbelt, there's a good chance at least some of his or her passengers won't either.

Another finding: "A fair amount" of young people involved in the study were talking on cellphones while driving.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)