Nearly 43 Percent of High School Drivers Text, Says New Study


  • Distracted Driving Picture

    Distracted Driving Picture

    A new study finds that 43 percent of teens admit to texting while driving. | May 06, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Nearly 43 percent of high school drivers text and engage in other risky behaviors such as drinking and driving, having unprotected sex and using an indoor tanning device, according to a new study.
  • The study warned that teens aren't getting the message about texting and driving.
  • Survey results showed that males were more likely than females to text while driving, and the prevalence of texting increased with age.

WASHINGTON — Nearly 43 percent of high-school drivers text and engage in other risky behaviors such as drinking and driving, having unprotected sex and using an indoor tanning device, according to a new study released on Saturday by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The study warned that teens aren't getting the message about texting and driving.

Survey results showed that males were more likely than females to text while driving, and the prevalence of texting increased with age. The study said 52 percent of drivers over 18 text and drive versus 26 percent of 15-year-olds.

"Teens can get hundreds of text messages a day, but one message they aren't getting is that they shouldn't text and drive," the academy said in a statement.

The study is the work of researchers at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York.

Researchers analyzed data from the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Study of 7,833 high school students who were old enough to get a driver's license in their state. For the first time, the 2011 study included a question about texting while driving: "During the past 30 days, on how many days did you text or e-mail while driving a car or other vehicle?"

Nearly 43 percent admitted to texting while driving at least once in the past 30 days.

Researchers also found that state laws banning texting while driving had little effect: 39 percent of teens reported texting in states where it is illegal versus 44 percent of teens in states that have no restrictions.

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of deaths among teens, and using a phone while driving significantly increases the risk of accidents in this age group, the academy noted.

Edmunds says: The American Academy of Pediatrics raises more alarm bells about teens and texting while driving, but a solution is nowhere in sight.

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