A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control revealed that more than half of high school seniors openly admitted to texting while driving.
In the age of technology older teenagers are rarely seen without a phone in their hand, and this remained true when they were behind the wheel. About 58 percent of high school seniors said they text or email from their phones while driving. Juniors in high school weren’t far behind as more than 43 percent said they also text and drive. A staggering 75 percent said they have friends who text while driving as well, but they still never hesitate to get in the car with these drivers.
Perhaps the most shocking statistic revealed in the study was the fact that about 97 percent of the teenagers surveyed said that they were aware that texting while driving is extremely dangerous.
“They know it’s wrong, and sadly the kids that have suffered are more passionate about it,” said Bob Bunton, a driver’s education teacher at Parkway North High School. “…but it’s too late for them.”
On Wednesday, a Massachusetts teen was sentenced to two and a half years in prison after causing a fatal car accident that killed one driver and left the other seriously injured. Police discovered that the 17-year-old driver had sent over 100 text messages that day; some of them were sent seconds before the deadly impact.
Illinois police also revealed that the 16-year-old driver who died in a crossover crash on I-55 in Collinsville was likely using her cell phone while driving.
A Harvard study revealed that over 2,000 fatal car accidents are caused every year by drivers who are texting while driving. More than 50 percent of Americans believed texting while driving should be punished just as harshly as drinking while driving, but those laws have been hard to enforce and have actually made the problem worse.
“It’s now gone from where texting was not illegal and they had it up to eye level to now trying to hide it and dropping the level, which has dropped the eyeballs and it’s even worse,” said Bunton.
The CDC report did reveal some good news. The number of teenagers who admitted to rarely wearing their seatbelts decreased by more than 20 percent. Only eight percent of teenagers admitted to drinking while driving and only 24 percent said they rode in a car with a drunk driver. Teen deaths from motor vehicle accidents have decreased by 44 percent in the last decade, but texting while driving is threatening to increase these numbers again.