For the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specifically questioned teen drivers on whether or not they text while behind the wheel. It turns out, more than half of those in their senior year of high school admitted to texting while driving.
The CDC survey was done last year and questioned 15,000 students attending private and public schools. The question was whether or not they had sent an email or a text in the past month. Of those asked, 58 percent of seniors admitted to emailing or texting and 43 percent of high school juniors admitted to the same thing.
Of course, this statistic is rather frightening as cellphone use when driving can lead to lane swerves, a delay in reaction time and other dangerous behaviors that can lead to fatal accidents.
Amanda Lenhart, who is a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center, said she's not surprised by the findings of the CDC's survey. In the past, she has spent time talking with teens on this very topic and said a common belief is that it's OK to text if the car is stopped at a red light or in traffic. Another commonality among teens is the idea that holding the phone up is safer as it allows them to text while keeping their eyes on the road.
When looking at distracted driving and the role it plays in accidents, roughly 16 percent of fatal teen motor vehicle accidents involved distracted driving. Texting while operating a vehicle most definitely falls within the distracted driving category.
However, while this CDC survey did bring up the fact that older teens are still texting while driving, the same survey did find some positives as more students reported wearing seatbelts and less are getting behind the wheel after drinking.