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One in Three Teens Text While Driving, CDC Finds

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- While teen drivers have reduced some risky behaviors behind the wheel, such as not wearing a seatbelt and driving while intoxicated, many still engage in other dangerous practices, according to a new survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey finds that one in three high school students had texted or emailed while driving during the past 30 days.

"Texting or email while driving can have deadly consequences that are entirely preventable," says Howell Wechsler, the director of the CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health.  "Studies show that activities such as texting are particularly dangerous because they take the drivers attention away from driving more frequently and for longer period of times than other distractions."

Combined with their inexperience, texting puts young drivers at risk for car accidents.

"Due to their lack of experience behind the wheel, younger drivers under the age of 20 are at increased risk and at the highest proportion of distraction related fatal crashes," says Wechsler.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among American youth, according to the CDC.  They account for more than one in three teen deaths each year.

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