This past Saturday, the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies took place in New York, and some of the research that was presented looked at the prevalence of texting and driving among teenagers.
Members of the Cohen Children’s Medical Center presented the findings, which analyzed data made available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Study. Conducted in 2011, researchers queried 7,833 teens as to a litany of behaviors. This was the first year the study sought information about texting and driving habits.
43% of teens admitted that they had texted while at the wheel at at least some point in the past month. What makes this particularly disheartening is the fact that automobile crashes continue to top the list of the main factors behind teen fatalities.
When teens did admit to texting, there was a good chance they admitted to one of the other risky behaviors outlined by the survey. Texting teens were more likely to drink and drive, use an indoor tanning bed, and engage in unprotected intercourse. Males were slightly more likely to text at the wheel than their female counterparts, while the behavior was also more common as teens aged.
Researchers hope to use this information to develop programs that seek to emphasize the deadly nature of texting and other risky habits.