A study conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control revealed almost 50 percent of teens admit to texting while driving. That’s an alarming statistic, as io9 points out, particularly because more teens now die annually from this epidemic than they do from drunk driving. Even with numerous public service announcements from carriers and other companies, many teens still don’t heed warnings.
What’s even worse about the study is that teens who did admit to texting while driving also participate in other reckless behaviors, such as failing to buckle up. The study is actually from 2011—it’s just being released online today—and surveyed 8,100 teens 16 and up.
“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,” said study author Emily O’Malley Olsen.
Kids, obviously, don’t always make the wisest decision, and this study backs that up with cold, hard numbers. Of course, idiotic behavior isn’t exclusive to the younger crowd, but Olsen certainly has a point about teens being unable to recognize dangerous situations. Having been a teenager myself many moons ago, there are instances when you almost feel invincible. That won’t happen to me.
The study also showed that over 30 percent of U.S. drivers between the ages of 18-64 either read or sent a text while driving—AT&T data provided to USAToday from March suggests that figure is more like 50 percent. It could be higher in all age groups, too, because the data only accounts for people who shamefully admitted to texting while driving. Fearing embarrassment, those surveyed may not have been honest about their behaviors.
“Parents have to lead by example,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden. “If you drive fast, if you drink and drive, if you text and drive, then your kids learn that that’s acceptable behavior, and it is not.”
Even if you think you’re in control, that semblance of safety could land you in the hospital, or worse. It’s important to not only consider your life, but others on the road. 3,000 teens died last year from texting while driving, io9 said. Put the phone down; that message can wait.