Most Teens Still Text, Drive, then Justify Actions

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More than half of teenage drivers in the United States still send text messages behind the wheel, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control.

An anonymous national survey of public and private school students found that 58 percent of high school seniors admitted to texting or emailing while driving within the last month. About 43 percent of high school juniors said they did the same.

"We need to teach kids, who are the most vulnerable drivers, that texting and driving don't mix," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in response to the findings.

The government will start two pilot projects in Delaware and California to discourage distracted driving.

Currently, texting and driving is illegal in 39 states for all age groups. Five other states ban it for teenage drivers.

Still, many break the law and often justify their actions.

"A lot of teens say, 'Well, if the car's not moving and I'm at a stoplight or I'm stuck in traffic, that's okay,'" said Amanda Lenhart, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center in Washington.

She added that other teens admit texting and driving isn't safe, but many think it is safer if they hold the phone up so they can see the road and text at the same time.

The CDC survey did find that more teens are wearing seatbelts and fewer said they drove drunk.

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