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Despite Tennessee ban, teens still text and drive

Even though texting while driving is illegal in Tennessee, a recent study points to the fact that many teen drivers still engage in the risky behavior anyways. Additionally, many times these teen drivers who will text while driving are also the same teens who will engage in other risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence.

The study was conducted by researchers at Cohen Children's Medical Center. The data came from a 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This survey, which is conducted every two years, was the first time questions related to texting while driving were included.

In total, 7,883 high school students took the survey. Of those, 43 percent admitted to sending or reading a text message at least once over the past 30 days.

This was also not the only trend found in the study. Other findings included:

  • Teenage boys are more likely than teenage girls to text while driving.
  • The older teens, like those who are 17 and 18, are more likely to text and drive than the younger teens between the ages of 15 and 16.
  • Teens who text and drive are more likely to drive drunk and use an indoor tanning device. Basically, teens who take risks in one aspect of their lives are more likely to take risks in other aspects too.

For those in Tennessee reading about this study, there is a tendency to want to believe teens in other states without texting bans are the ones making up the majority of those who text while driving. However, the truth is that the percentage difference among teens from states with bans versus those without bans is very small. In fact, broken down, 44 percent of teens asked from states with no ban reported texting while driving and 39 percent of teens asked from states with bans admitted to still texting anyway.

What this means is that regardless of the law, some teens are still thinking they are invincible and are in turn putting themselves and others in direct risk of getting into a car accident.


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