39% of high school students are texting while driving, new survey finds

Many high school students are engaging in dangerous health-risk behaviors, including texting while driving, according to the latest results of a national government survey.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance survey found that 39.2% of high school students who drove in the previous 30 days had texted or e-mailed while driving.

Other results showed:

  • 29.8% reported current alcohol use, and 19.8% reported current marijuana use. In addition, 14.0% of students had taken prescription pain medicine without a doctor’s prescription or differently than how a doctor told them to use it one or more times during their life.
  • During the 12 months before the survey, 19.0% had been bullied on school property and 7.4% had attempted suicide.
  • Many high school students are engaged in sexual risk behaviors that relate to unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection. Nationwide, 39.5% of students had ever had sexual intercourse and 9.7% had had sexual intercourse with four or more persons during their life. Among currently sexually active students, 53.8% reported that either they or their partner had used a condom during their last sexual intercourse.

Results from the 2017 national YRBS also indicated many high school students are engaged in behaviors associated with chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.

  • Nationwide, 8.8% of high school students had smoked cigarettes and 13.2% had used an electronic vapor product on at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey.
  • Forty-three percent played video or computer games or used a computer for 3 or more hours per day on an average school day for something that was not school work, and 15.4% had not been physically active for a total of at least 60 minutes on at least 1 day during the 7 days before the survey.
  • Further, 14.8% were obese and 15.6% were overweight.

“Most high school students cope with the transition from childhood through adolescence to adulthood successfully and become healthy and productive adults,” the report notes.

However, it added, “Using this and other reports based on scientifically sound data is important for raising awareness about the prevalence of health-related behaviors among students in grades 9–12, especially sexual minority students, among decision makers, the public, and a wide variety of agencies and organizations that work with youth.

“These agencies and organizations, including schools and youth-friendly health care providers, can help facilitate access to critically important education, health care, and high-impact, evidence-based interventions.”

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