Cell Phone Use Much Risker than Alcohol in Teen Drivers

A study recently released by the Texas Transportation Institute indicates night time driving and cell phone use are much more likely to cause teenage driving accidents than alcohol.  Only one percent of the 4,400 teenagers surveyed (representing 17 texas high schools) believed that night time driving was unsafe.  Only one third of these students recognized talking or texting on their cell phone was dangerous.  Approximately two thirds of texas high schoolers had talked on their cell phone while driving in the last six months while 50 percent had read or sent text messages while driving.  The most frequent risk factor for fatal car crashes among teens was driving at night followed by distractions from a cell phone or other passenger.  This was followed by speeding, low seat belt use, and alcohol.  “The teen driver safety problem has reached epidemic proportions and has become an urgent public health crisis,” said Dennis Christiansen, director of the institute, referring to the nearly 500 teen drivers killed in accidents every year in Texas.