Despite widespread awareness of the dangers of sending text messages while driving, an alarming number of young people are engaging in the behavior, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
In its 2011 Youth Risk Survey, the CDC found that 32.8 percent of students around the country admitted to texting or emailing while driving a car at least once in the 30 days prior to responding to the survey. That number jumped to 43 percent when considering just 11th graders, and 58 percent for high school seniors.
Several CDC findings support the danger of texting and driving. Specifically, in 2009, of the 5,400 people who died of crashes involving a distracted driver, nearly 1,000 of those deaths cited the use of cell phones as the principal distraction.
The proportion of drivers reportedly distracted at the time of a fatal accident jumped from 7 percent in 2005 to 11 percent in 2009.
In addition, one-third of drivers said that driving feels less safe today than it did five years ago - and one-third of those respondents cited distracted driving as a principal reason for this.
Photo: Flickr/Jason Weaver