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How Many Teens Text While Behind the Wheel?

larryzou, Flickr

Teenagers aren’t drinking as much as they used to and more of them now wear seat belts, but all of that could be offset by the startling number of them who admit to texting while driving.

The CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey, which has been done every other year since 1991, polled 15,000 teens and found that they’re now less likely to engage in risky behaviors like smoking, binge-drinking, or having a high number of sexual partners.

But that said, nearly a third of teen drivers said they’ve texted or emailed while behind the wheel at least once in the previous month, a statistic Howell Wechsler, director of the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health, finds troubling.

Teen deaths related to car accidents have fallen 44 percent since 1991, but crashes are still the number one cause of fatalities for the age group. And since inexperienced teen drivers have the highest rate of distraction-related auto wrecks, Wechsler said, “Texting or emailing while driving can have deadly consequences that are entirely preventable.”


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