A high percentage of the state’s teen drivers talk or text on their phone while behind the wheel, according to the 2011 Connecticut School Health Survey.
The results of the survey — administered to more than 6,000 high school and middle school students across the state — were released Thursday by the state Department of Public Health. Students are asked about a variety of behaviors, including sexual activity, alcohol and drug use and cigarette use. Students are also asked about their driving behaviors, and more than half (53 percent) of those surveyed said they talked on a cell phone while driving at least once in the month before taking the survey.
In further bad driving behavior, about 50 percent of teen drivers admitted to texting or emailing while driving at least once in the month before taking the survey. Also, about 10 percent of high school students said they rarely or never wore a seat belt as a passenger and about one out of every 10 high school seniors reported drinking alcohol and driving in the month before the survey. About one in four said they had recently been a passenger of someone who had been drinking alcohol.
State health officials report that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens.
The Connecticut School Health Survey is administered in two parts, the Youth Behavior Component (YBC) and the Youth Tobacco Component (YTC). The YBC surveys high school students and monitors public health risk behavior and the YTC survey high school and middle school students about their use of and exposure to tobacco. In 2011, 4,299 middle and high school students completed the YTC and 2,058 youth completed the YBC. The YBC contained the questions about driving behaviors.
For more on the Connecticut School Health Survey, visit http://www.ct.gov/dph/cshs.