America is facing a “deadly epidemic,” as more and more young people text or use cellphones while driving, warns Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
A new study, conducted by the Department of Transportation and Consumer Reports magazine, reveals that 30% of those under the age of 30 admit testing while behind the wheel. And 63% acknowledge they’ve used hand-held cellphones.
By comparison, researchers found just 9% of drivers over 30 admitting to texting, and 41% saying they’ve used hand-held phones while behind the wheel.
Significantly, about a third of the young drivers said they don’t consider such activities to be dangerous.
That flies in the face of evidence showing that distracted driving accidents are responsible for 5,500 deaths on U.S. roadways each year, according to federal data.
“Distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic on America’s roads,” says LaHood, “and teens are especially vulnerable because of their inexperience behind the wheel and, often, peer pressure.”
Significantly, federal statistics also reveal that crashes are the leading cause of death for teens – who are about three times more likely to be involved in fatal collisions than older motorists.
A driver texting, meanwhile, is considered 23 times more likely to have a collision.