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43 Percent Teens Text While Driving: Study

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May 04, 2013 08:59 AM EDT
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(Photo : katerha/ Flickr creative commons)

According to a new study, about 43 percent high-school students taking part in a survey have said that they have texted while driving in the past month. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among U.S. teenagers, and texting while driving is a risk factor for accidents.

"Texting while driving has become, in the words of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a 'national epidemic,'" said Alexandra Bailin, a research assistant at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, principal investigator of the study.

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The study was based on data from the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey of more than 7,800 students who were eligible for a driver's license in their state.

Researchers found that both gender and age were related to texting while driving; males and students above age 18 years were more likely to text while driving when compared with females or students below age 18 years.

Also, students who texted while driving were also more likely than others to engage in other risky behaviors such as drinking, having unprotected sex and using tanning beds/lamps.

The prevalence of texting while driving among teenagers in states that prohibit it was 39 percent compared with 44 percent in states that don't have such restrictions.

"Although texting while driving was slightly less common in states that prohibit it, the reality is that millions of teens text while driving. Regrettably, our analysis suggests that state laws do not significantly reduce teen texting while driving," said Andrew Adesman, chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, senior author of the study, in a news release.

The study is to be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC.

One in every three teenagers texts or sends emails while driving, a study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had earlier reported. 

 

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