CDC: Teen driving safety improves in some areas, declines in others

June 8, 2012 12:00 AM

A recent report by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that while teenagers have gotten better about certain vehicle safety habits, their use of new technology while driving is putting them at risk.

The National Youth Risk Behavior Study for 2011 shows promising trends in a number of areas. Over the past twenty years, the percentage of high school students who don't wear seatbelts has declined from 26 to just 8 percent. Teens are also far less likely to get into the car with someone who has been drinking or drink and drive themselves, according to the report.

However, new dangers are emerging from cell phones. According to the report, one in three seniors have texted or sent emails from their phone while driving in the past 30 days, despite numerous agencies warning teens against this behavior.

"We are encouraged that more of today's high school students are choosing healthier, safer behaviors, such as wearing seat belts, and are avoiding behaviors that we know can cause them harm, such as binge drinking or riding with impaired drivers," said Howell Weschler, director of the CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health. "However, these findings also show that despite improvements, there is a continued need for government agencies, community organizations, schools, parents, and other community members to work together to address the range of risk behaviors prevalent among our youth."

Parents should ensure their teens are as safe as possible by keeping up to date with vehicle maintenance, such as properly inflating tires.

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