A new national epidemic has emerged recently among teenagers that could potentially be more dangerous than any other type of motor-vehicle accidents.
According to the a new study by the Centers for Disease Control, most teenagers admit that while they drive, they also use their phones to text and email their friends.
The study surveyed 15,000 different high school students throughout the United States about the different risky activities that engage in while driving.
For the first time, questions about texting and emailing were included in the survey.
The data found that approximately one in three high school students use their cellphones to text while they are also in control of a motor-vehicle during the past 30 days.
The study also showed that the percentage of students who texted and drove was higher with upperclassmen than with younger students.
In the past month, almost 43 percent of junior division students and about 58 percent of senior students said that they had done it.
According to the majority of the students surveyed, they felt that it was ok to text while they were stopped in traffic or while they were at a red light.
Other teenagers say that they also hold up their phone above the steering wheel so they can see both the road and the phone at the same time.
Officials say that this practice is extremely dangerous and can lead to fatal accidents. Statistics say texting is listed as the official cause of death in about 16 percent of all fatal car crashes involving teenagers.
“Texting or emailing while driving a car can have deadly consequences,” said Howell Wechsler, director of the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health.
One crash survivor even explained how her life was negatively impacted by another driver’s texting and driving at a news conference in Washington on Thursday afternoon.
“I sustained a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, neck, rib, hip injuries and some emotional stuff too,” Alison Holden said.
“She should have been focusing on the road, but instead she was on her phone and hit me.”
However, the CDC study also said that teenagers are now better about wearing seatbelts and fewer teens are driving and drinking.
The number of high school students who never wore used seatbelts decreased from about 26 percent to 8 percent over the last two decades, the CDC said.
Only 8 percent said that in the past 30 days they had operated a motor-vehicle while they were under the influence of alcohol, compared to 17 percent in 1997.
The number of students who rode in the same vehicle as a drunk driver was also significantly decreased by 16 percent, dropping from 40 percent to 24 percent over the past 20 years.
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