-- Robert Preidt
SATURDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- Forty-three percent of
American high school students admit to texting while driving,
according to a new study.
The findings show that too many teens are ignoring warnings
about the risks of this dangerous habit. Research has demonstrated
that texting while driving increases the risk of a crash by 23
times, and many experts say texting while driving is more dangerous
than driving while intoxicated.
Researchers analyzed data from about 7,800 U.S. high school
students who had their driver's license and took part in the 2011
survey on youth behaviors conducted yearly by the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. The teens were asked if they had
texted while driving in the past 30 days, and 43 percent said they
Males were more likely to text while driving than females -- 46
percent versus 40 percent, respectively. The likelihood of texting
while driving increased with age: 52 percent of those over age 18,
46 percent of 17-year-olds, 33 percent of 16-year-olds and 26
percent of 15-year-olds.
The study also found that teens who texted while driving were
more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, such as drinking
and driving, having unprotected sex, and using indoor tanning
"By identifying associated high-risk behaviors such as these, it is our hope that we can develop more effective mechanisms to reduce texting while driving," principal investigator Alexandra Bailin, a research assistant at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, said in an American Academy of Pediatrics news release.
Bailin and her colleagues also found that state laws banning
texting while driving had little effect. Thirty-nine percent of
teens reported texting and driving in states where it is illegal,
compared with 44 percent of teens in states with no restrictions,
according to the study, which is scheduled for Saturday
presentation at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meeting in
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data
and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in
a peer-reviewed journal.
"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," Bailin said.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has more
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