U.S. teenagers say they know texting while they drive is dangerous, but they do it anyway.
In a survey commissioned by AT&T, 97 percent of teens said they know the practice is dangerous but 43 percent admitted to doing it at least once. Seventy-five percent of those questioned said texting behind the wheel is common among their friends.
The main reason they do it, teens said, was pressure to respond to a text immediately. Almost all teens - 89 percent - said they expect a reply to a text or email within five minutes or less. Sixty-one percent of teens in the survey say they glance at their phone while driving, and 61 percent have seen their friends read or send an email, or text, while driving.
How did teenagers develop such a dangerous habit? Maybe by observing adults. According to 77 percent of teens, adults tell kids not to text while driving - yet adults do it themselves "all the time."
Forty-one percent of teens report seeing their parents read or send an email, or text, while driving. Sixty-two percent of teens feel that getting reminders from their own parents not to text and drive would be effective in getting them or their friends to stop texting and driving.
Texting ranks as the No. 1 mode of communication among teens. On average, teens text five times more a day than a typical adult. When this habit hits the road, drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be in an accident or near-accident.
Texting is just one form of distracted driving that is increasingly blamed for accidents. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2009, more than 5,400 people died in crashes that were reported to involve a distracted driver and about 448,000 people were injured.
Among those killed or injured in these crashes, nearly 1,000 deaths and 24,000 injuries included cell phone use as the major distraction.