The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2,700 teens are killed each year in car accidents where a teen driver was under the influence of alcohol. In addition, an estimated 282,000 injuries are suffered in such accidents. According to recent research, that makes drinking and driving the second most deadly behavior among teen drivers. A study conducted by researchers at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park suggested that teen deaths caused by texting drivers total more than 3,000. It estimated that 300,000 injuries result from this form of distracted driving.
Taking over the spot as the number one cause of death for teen drivers may force more people to take texting and driving seriously. Despite the proliferation of laws banning texting and driving, including some geared directly toward teen drivers, the hazard is growing according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While many people would express outrage at the notion of teens drinking and driving, texting does not yet illicit a similar response. A California survey recently showed that roughly two out of three drivers in the 30-64 age group use their cell phones while children are in the car and one out of three admit to texting with kids in the car.
Some the news surrounding dangerous teen driving habits is improving. The CDC tracks data concerning drinking and driving among teens and suggests that the practice is diminishing. Teen driver alcohol us is 54 percent lower than it was in 1991. The issue appears to be how to avoid swapping out an impaired driver with an inattentive one.
Source: Newsday, “Study: Texting while driving now leading cause of death for teen drivers,” by Delthia Ricks, 8 May 2013