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Johns Hopkins Health - Is UR Teen Txtg Whl Drvng?

Fall 2009
Issue No. 6

Is UR Teen Txtg Whl Drvng?

Date: September 24, 2009

caucasian boy text messaging while driving

Teens and texting go together like burgers and fries. But not when the kids are behind the wheel. Teens are already four times more likely than older drivers to be involved in auto crashes, and recent studies prove that the probability increases even more when they’re texting and driving at the same time.

Fluctuating speed, weaving and changing lanes—even running over pedestrians in one simulated study—were most common while teens are distracted.

“Parents should start by setting a good example,” says Johns Hopkins Children’s Center pediatrician Letitia Dzirasa, M.D. Pediatricians can also help by talking to their teen patients about the risks of cell phone use while driving, and even making that part of the conversation during routine physicals, she adds.

In Maryland, teens younger than 18 are prohibited from using cell phones while driving. Now, new legislation makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to write, read or send a text message while driving (