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Study: 4 in 10 high-school students text while driving

Driving requires us to focus completely on the road. However, drivers nowadays, particularly, teenagers, are likely to distract themselves with their cell phones while behind the wheel. In 2015, 14 percent of fatal distracted driving car accidents involved the use of a cell phone.

A recent study by the Journal of Adolescent Health looked at the likelihood of teens texting and emailing on their phones while driving. In 2015, 35 states gave out the Youth Risk Behavior Study to over 100,000 students at least 14 years of age who had driven over the past month. Researchers at the Journal of Adolescent Health analyzed this data, focusing only on teen texting and emailing behind the wheel. Other cell phone behaviors, including use of social media and music, were not analyzed.

The results of the study showed that nearly 40 percent of high-school students nationwide text while driving. Out of the 50 states, California was ranked 31st, with 32 percent of teens admitting to texting and driving. Maryland came in with the lowest percentage of teen drivers (26 percent) and South Dakota had the highest percentage (64 percent).

Researchers believe that states with a lower minimum age to acquire a learner's permit are more likely to have teens texting behind the wheel. The minimum learner's permit age is 14 in South Dakota, 15 years and 6 months in California, and 15 years and 9 months in Maryland. But, the study also showed that students are much more likely to text and drive as they get older. Researchers also found that teens who don't use seatbelts regularly or drink and drive are more likely to text and drive.

While many states have enacted laws to cut down on cell phone use, particularly for new drivers, there are still countless distracted driving accidents every day. If one was injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, the victim or their attorney can file a claim against the other driver to recover compensation for injuries and damages.

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