Nationwide, more than 3,000 teens are killed and 300,000 are injured as a result of texting and driving, compared to 2,700 deaths and 282,000 injuries from drinking and driving, said researchers at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.
“A person who is texting can be as impaired as a driver who is legally drunk,” said Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen.
Adesman and his team found that the number of teens who text and drive exceed the number who drink and drive, that more boys admit to texting than girls, and that texting increases with age, writes Delthia Ricks of Newsday. While teens’ texting is increasing, the CDC reports alcohol use among teen drivers has decreased by 54 percent over the past 14 years.
On Wednesday, officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration described texting as among the worst of driver distractions, and Adesman says texting is as hazardous as “drinking and driving, binge drinking, drug and tobacco use, unsafe sex and tanning devices,” writes Ricks.
“We have very strong taboos against drinking and driving. Kids don’t drink and drive every day,” Adesman said. “But some kids are out there texting and driving seven days a week — and they admit it.”