If you didn't already think it was a major problem, two new studies on teens, texting, and driving should prove rather informative. To paint with a borad brush, teens are texting while driving at an alarming rate, it's indicative of other risky behaviors, and it's now killing kids at a rate similar to drunk driving.
First, a study just published in the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics concludes that "nearly half of US high school students aged ≥16 years report TWD during the past 30 days, and these students are more likely to engage in additional risky MV behaviors."
What risky behaviors, you ask? Well, the study, based on data from the CDC, found that these teens who texted while driving were more likely to not wear their seatbelts and were also more likely to drink and drive (or at least ride in the car with someone who has been drinking).
The CDC study asked a sample of around 8.500 high school students whether they had texted while driving in the past month. Just shy of 45% copped to it. Those teens were then found to participate in other high-risk driving activities at a higher rate.
"Multitasking is fine if you're sitting in your dorm room or at home in your bedroom, but multitasking in the car is a terrible idea," said CDC director Tom Frieden. "It's amazing how quickly things can go wrong in the car."
Here's another alarming find for you parents out there: according to another study, texting while driving is now killing more teens that drunk driving.
The study comes from the Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York. They say that over 3,000 teens now die every year as the result of texting while driving. That number just beats the number killed in drunk driving accidents - 2,700.
Of course, texting is a more common practice than drinking while driving. But still, it's a shocking figure.
“The reality is kids aren’t drinking seven days per week - they are carrying their phones and texting seven days per week, so you intuitively know this a more common occurrence,” said Dr. Andrew Adesman, Chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center.
Although these studies focused on teens, it's not just the younger crowd who is guilty of texting while driving. A recent AT&T study found that 49% of adults admitted to the practice, compared to just 43% of teens. And it's not for lack of knowledge. 98% admitted that they knew it was wrong, but did it anyway. 39 states currently ban texting while driving and another 6 ban it for novice drivers.