Nearly half of high school drivers text behind the wheel: study

Atlanta – Nearly 45 percent of high school students 16 or older reported texting while driving – with texters more likely to engage in other unsafe driving behaviors – according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers analyzed results of CDC’s 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which included questions on participants’ driving safety habits. Among responses from 8,500 high school students, researchers found that, compared to non-texters, those who reported texting while driving in the previous 30 days were more than 5 times more likely to drive after consuming alcohol. Texters also were more likely to inconsistently wear safety belts as a passenger and ride with a driver who had been drinking.

Researchers recommended creating stricter laws and technological advancements to deter teens from engaging in unsafe driving behaviors. They also emphasized the effectiveness of parental supervision.

The study was published online May 13 in the journal Pediatrics.

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