Nearly 43 Percent of Teens Text while Driving: Study

First Posted: May 06, 2013 07:42 AM EDT

One of the leading death causes among teenagers is motor vehicle accidents, and using the phone while driving just doubles the risk of accidents. An alarming finding suggests that nearly 43 percent high school students of driving age text at least once while driving. 

The result was based on a previous survey conducted, in which students admitted to texting while driving at least once in the past 30 days. The study was presented May 4, 2013, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC.

"Texting while driving has become, in the words of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a 'national epidemic,'" principal investigator Alexandra Bailin, a research assistant at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, said in a news release. "Although teens may be developmentally predisposed to engage in risk-taking behavior, reducing the prevalence of texting while driving is an obvious and important way to ensure the health and safety of teen drivers, their passengers and the surrounding public."

The risk of meeting with motor vehicle accidents increases 23 times when texting and driving, therefore researchers highlight a strong association between texting while driving and the risk of accidents.

In order to prove their finding, the team of researchers analyzed data from the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey that involved 7,833 high school students. These students were eligible for a driver's license. The researchers noticed that males were more likely to text while driving when compared to females. The prevalence of texting increased along with age, with 46 percent of the participants being 17 years old and 52 percent over 18 years.

Apart from this, those who texted while driving were more likely to be a part of other risky behaviors such as drinking and driving, having unprotected sex, and using tanning beds.

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