Texting, which recently has been linked to shallowness and racist attitudes, is also a commonplace activity for more than four of every 10 teenagers behind the wheel, according to a new study.
In the 2011 survey on youth behaviors conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43 percent of American high school students admitted to texting while driving,
Texting while driving increases the risk of crash by 23 times, according to current research. Many experts say texting while driving is more dangerous than driving while intoxicated, HealthDay News reports.
The survey asked teenagers whether they had texted while driving during the past 30 days, and 43 percent said they had.
Males were more likely to admit texting while driving than females, with 46 percent of males and 40 percent females reporting.
The likelihood of texting while driving increased with age: 26 percent of fifteen-year-olds, 33 percent of 16-year-olds, 46 percent of 17-year-olds, and 52 percent of 18-year-olds do it.
Teenagers who reported they texted while driving also were more likely to engage in other risky business, including drunk driving, having unprotected sex, and using indoor tanning devices.
"By identifying associated high-risk behaviors such as these, it is our hope that we can develop more effective mechanisms to reduce texting while driving," principal investigator Alexandra Bailin, research assistant at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, said in an American Academy of Pediatrics news release.
It is worth noting that 49 percent of adults admit to texting while driving, according to a different study conducted by AT&T.
The teen survey also found that state laws banning texting while driving had little effect on reported behavior.
In states where driving and texting is illegal, 39 percent of teenagers reported the behavior, compared to 44 percent of teenagers in states where it is legal.
"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.
The study has not been peer-reviewed yet.
For more information about distracted driving, visit the website of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.