Teens who reported texting while driving were more likely to engage in other risky driving behaviors like driving under the influence of alcohol and not wearing a seat belt, according to new research released Monday by the journal Pediatrics.
The national survey asked 8,500 high school students age 16 and older if they had texted while driving during the past month. 44.5 percent of teens admitted to texting while driving at least once, while 25 percent texted while driving on a daily basis.
WHAT PARENTS SHOULD DO
"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, a health statistician in the department of adolescent and school health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "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."
5X MORE LIKELY TO DRIVE AND DRIVE TOO
The report found teens who text while driving are five times more likely to also drink and drive. This pairing of risky behaviors raises a red flag for parents, policy makers and law enforcement.
"Strategies to reduce this and other risky driving behaviors may include state laws and technological solutions, but parental supervision may be the most effective prevention tool," the report said.