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PAS: Nearly Half of Teens Report Texting While Driving

Texting while driving more likely among males and older adolescents

MONDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- More than 40 percent of teenagers report texting while driving (TWD), with other health-risk behaviors significantly predicting TWD, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, held from May 4 to 7 in Washington, D.C.

Alexandra Bailin, from Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York in New Hyde Park, and colleagues used data for 7,833 teenagers above the legal age of obtaining a license in their state from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System to examine the prevalence and predictors of TWD, and to analyze the impact of laws prohibiting TWD.

The researchers found that 42.7 percent of participants reported TWD once or more in the past 30 days. Health-risk behaviors that significantly predicted TWD included driving after drinking alcohol, having one or more drinks, using an indoor tanning device, and having sex without a condom. TWD was more likely among males than females (45.7 versus 39.7 percent) and for older versus younger adolescents (51.9 percent among those aged 18 and older versus 26.4 percent for 15-year-olds). TWD was significantly more prevalent in states without a law prohibiting TWD (43.5 percent) than in states with a law (39.3 percent), although the effect size was small.

"Although teens may be developmentally predisposed to engage in risk-taking behavior, reducing the prevalence of texting while driving is an obvious and important way to ensure the health and safety of teen drivers, their passengers, and the surrounding public," Bailin said in a statement.

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