Nearly half of high schoolers text while driving: survey

May 13, 2013 by Denise Mann, Healthday Reporter
Nearly half of high schoolers text while driving: survey
Those teens also more prone to drunk driving, results show.

(HealthDay)—Close to half of U.S high school students text while driving, a habit that dramatically increases their risk of getting into a potentially fatal car crash, a new study shows.

Teens who reported texting while were more likely to engage in other risky driving behaviors such as driving under the influence of alcohol or not wearing a seat belt, the study also found.

The research was published online May 13 and in the June print issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Researchers used responses from more than 8,500 students 16 and older who were asked if they had texted while driving during the past month, as part of a 2011 national survey on risky . Overall, 44.5 percent of teens said they had done so on one or more days. One in four texted while driving on a daily basis, the study showed. The older the students, the more likely they were to text and drive. Male texted while driving more often than female students.

"The numbers are fairly concerning," said study author Emily O'Malley Olsen, a health in the department of adolescent and at the U.S. . "It just takes a second of looking away from the road to get into trouble."

Some of the onus falls on parents and pediatricians to counsel teens on the dangers of texting while behind the wheel, she suggested.

"Teens are pretty new drivers and less able to recognize hazardous driving situations and they tend to perceive risk a little bit differently than adults," Olsen said. "Parents should monitor their kids and have frequent discussions about things that can come up while driving such as texting, playing with the radio or playing around with their buddies."

Other experts stressed the importance of making sure teens get the message that texting while driving can have deadly consequences.

"It may not seem as bad as driving while using alcohol or drugs, but texting while driving can be very detrimental to a person's health—killing them or causing severe injuries," said Dr. Metee Comkornruecha, an adolescent medicine specialist at Miami Children's Hospital.

He said he plans to continue to bring up the dangers associated with texting behind the wheel with his teen patients, especially since this behavior is linked to other risky behaviors while driving. "Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death in teens," he said.

Dr. Lee Beers, a at Children's National Medical Center, in Washington, D.C., said the findings are not surprising, but agreed that they are very concerning. "The association of texting while driving with other risk behaviors tells us that we probably need to approach this more globally," she said.

Getting through to teens who often feel like they are invincible can be challenging. "The most effective way is to make it real and immediate to teens is by citing an example of someone in the community or school who died or was seriously injured as a result of texting while driving," Beers said.

Explore further: Don't txt n drive: Teens not getting msg

More information: Learn more about how to encourage safe teen driving at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Related Stories

Don't txt n drive: Teens not getting msg

May 4, 2013
Teens can get hundreds of text messages a day, but one message they aren't getting is that they shouldn't text and drive. Nearly 43 percent of high school students of driving age who were surveyed in 2011 reported texting ...

National teen driving report finds safety gains for teen passengers

April 4, 2013
A new report on teen driver safety released today by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and State Farm shows encouraging trends among teen passengers. In 2011 more than half of teen passengers (54 percent) reported ...

Teen-led study highlights dangers of texting and driving

April 29, 2012
Some people have questioned whether a ban on texting while driving will actually lead to more crashes because drivers will conceal their cell phones, making it more dangerous to read and type messages. Research led by high ...

Driver distraction: Do as I say, not as I do (or what you think I do)

November 28, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—While it may come as no surprise that parents who talk on cell phones, send texts or eat and drink while driving have teenagers who are more likely to do the same, what teens think their parents do behind ...

Recommended for you

At the cellular level, a child's loss of a father is associated with increased stress

July 18, 2017
The absence of a father—due to incarceration, death, separation or divorce—has adverse physical and behavioral consequences for a growing child. But little is known about the biological processes that underlie this link ...

New comparison chart sheds light on babies' tears

July 10, 2017
A chart that enables parents and clinicians to calculate if a baby is crying more than it should in the first three months of its life has been created by a Kingston University London researcher, following a study of colic ...

Blood of SIDS infants contains high levels of serotonin

July 3, 2017
Blood samples from infants who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) had high levels of serotonin, a chemical that carries signals along and between nerves, according to a study funded in part by the National Institutes ...

Is your child's 'penicillin allergy' real?

July 3, 2017
(HealthDay)—Many children suspected of being allergic to the inexpensive, first-line antibiotic penicillin actually aren't, new research indicates.

Probiotic supplements failed to prevent babies' infections

July 3, 2017
(HealthDay)—Probiotic supplements may not protect babies from catching colds or stomach bugs in day care, a new clinical trial suggests.

Starting school young can put child wellbeing at risk

June 22, 2017
New research has shown that the youngest pupils in each school year group could be at risk of worse mental health than their older classmates.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.