More than 40% of U.S. teens text while driving, survey reveals
The likelihood of teens texting while driving increases with age, research shows. Males are more likely to text than females, and teens who drive and text are also more likely to engage in other risky behaviors.
TUESDAY, MAY 7, 2013, 2:49 PM
Texting while driving is a ‘national epidemic,’ scientists say, with more than 40% of teens doing so.
A new US survey finds that an alarming 43 percent of teenagers said that they texted while driving at least once in the past month.
“Texting while driving has become, in the words of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a ‘national epidemic,'” said principal investigator Alexandra Bailin, a research assistant at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York.
She presented her report on May 4 at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Washington DC.
“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.
To reach their findings, Bailin and her colleagues analyzed data from the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey of 7,833 US high school students who were old enough to get a driver’s license in their state.
Survey results showed that males were more likely to text while driving than females (46 percent vs. 40 percent) and the prevalence of texting increased with age (52 percent of those over the age of 18; 46 percent of 17-year-olds; 33 percent of 16-year-olds; and 26 percent of 15-year-olds).
Furthermore, teens who reported texting while driving were more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, having unprotected sex, and using an indoor tanning bed.