A new survey commissioned by AT&T found that teenagers feel pressure to quickly respond to text messages -- and adults are also setting a poor example by texting while driving themselves.
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.
The survey also found that 61 percent of teens say they glance at their phone while driving, and 61 percent have seen their friends read or send an email, or text, while driving.
Hispanic teens (54 percent) are more likely to admit to the practice of texting while driving than Caucasian (41 percent) and African-American (42 percent) teens. Hispanic teens (52 percent) also are more likely to report seeing their parents text while driving, compared to 38 percent of Caucasian teens and 44 percent of African-American teens who reported seeing their parents text while driving.
"Our survey also evaluated teen opinions of drinking and driving compared to texting while driving," said AT&T Director of Consumer Safety & Education, Andrea Brands. "While we're happy to report that 60 percent of them understand texting while driving is as dangerous as drinking and driving, there's still work to be done to make this behavior just as socially unacceptable.
"These findings help foster even more dialogue on the issue with teens and parents -- and we hope the tools we offer like our mobile application, documentary and educational toolkit help in driving home the message that absolutely no text is worth risking a life," Brands said.
To help address the issue and show first-hand the risks of texting while driving, AT&T is launching a 30-market U.S. tour of a texting-while-driving simulator, offered by The Peers Foundation. The simulator is a computerized car that lets users virtually text and drive -- providing a realistic but safe experience for teens to understand the dangers of texting behind the wheel.
"As we head into Global Youth Traffic Safety Month this May, we're proud to join forces with AT&T," said Sandra Spavone, executive director, National Organizations for Youth Safety. "Our combined efforts provide an opportunity to educate young drivers across the nation on the dangers of texting while driving and pave the way for a happy, safe summer on the road."
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