(NEW YORK) -- Teens who text while driving are more likely to engage in other risky behaviors in a car, a new government study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics finds.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed about 8,500 high school students ages 16 and older and found that in 2011, 44.5 percent of them admitted to texting behind the wheel during the past 30 days.
Those teens, the study found, were up to five times more likely than non-texters to drink and drive. Texters were also more likely to not wear a seatbelt and ride with a driver who had been drinking.
According to the study, the relationship between texting while driving and these other risky behaviors strengthened as the frequency of texting behind the wheel increased.
The results are not surprising but alarming, CDC Director Thomas Frieden tells USA Today, because "the greatest single risk to teenagers in this country is getting hurt or killed in a motor vehicle crash; that's the most likely thing to result in their death."
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