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Published on Jun 26, 2012 by Edgar Snyder

Study Suggests One in Three Teens Text While Driving

teen texting while driving

A lot of time and resources go into preventing teens from texting and driving. Parents talk to their kids about the dangers, smart phone apps monitor teens' cell phone, and countless PSAs reiterate that taking your eyes of the road for a few seconds can be deadly. Despite these efforts, a new study reveals that an alarming number of teen drivers are still texting while behind the wheel.

According to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 60 percent of high school seniors texted or sent emails while driving last year. When examining the driving behaviors of all high school students, researchers found that one in three texted while driving in 2011.

The study did reveal some positive trends among teens, however:

  • The number of teens who admitted to drinking and driving fell from 17 percent in 1997 to eight percent in 2011.
  • The percentage of teens who rode in a car driven by someone who had been drinking fell from 40 percent to 24 percent.
  • The percentage of teenagers who rarely or never wear seatbelts also fell, from 26 percent in 1991 to eight percent in 2011.

Although car accident deaths among teenagers have decreased by almost 50 percent since 1991, they remain the number one cause of death for this age group. Studies have shown that texting while driving increases the risk of being in a car accident by 23 times, and just earlier this month a landmark case in Massachusetts sent a teen driver to jail for killing another motorist while responding to a text message.

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"CDC: Majority of older teens text while driving." CBS News. June 7, 2012.
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