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Texting While Driving and Other Risky Motor Vehicle Behaviors Among US High School Students


According to an article published online in Pediatrics (13 May 2013), a study was performed to assess the prevalence of texting/e-mailing while driving (TWD) and association of TWD with other risky motor vehicle (MV) behaviors among US high school students.


For the study, data were used from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2011 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which assessed TWD during the 30 days before the survey among 8,505 students aged >16 years from a nationally representative sample of US high school students. TWD frequency was coded into dichotomous and polychotomous variables. Logistic regression assessed the relationship between TWD and other risky driving behaviors, controlling for age, race/ethnicity, and gender.


Results showed that the prevalence of TWD on >1 days during the 30 days before the survey was 44.5%. Students who engaged in TWD were more likely than their non-TWD counterparts to not always wear their seatbelt (prevalence ratio 1.1), ride with a driver who had been drinking alcohol (prevalence ratio 1.74), and drink alcohol and drive (prevalence ratio 5.33). These other risky MV behaviors were most likely to occur among students who frequently engaged in TWD.


According to the authors, with nearly half of US high school students aged >16 years report TWD during the past 30 days, this suggests there is a subgroup of students who may place themselves, their passengers, and others on the road at elevated risk for a crash-related injury or fatality by engaging in multiple risky MV behaviors.


Editor’s note:  Imagine the consequences of teen drinking, texting and driving. 


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