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Latino Daily News

Thursday May 17, 2012

Survey: Majority of Hispanic Teens Guilty of Texting While Driving

Survey: Majority of Hispanic Teens Guilty of Texting While Driving

Photo: Survey shows texting while driving is highest amongst hispanics

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Findings from a new survey commissioned by AT&T as part of the “It Can Wait” campaign indicate Hispanic teens are highly vulnerable when it comes to texting while driving. A shocking 54 percent of Hispanic teens admit to texting while driving, compared to 41 percent of Caucasian and 42 percent of African-American teenagers.

Even though most teens polled in this survey understand the dangers of texting while driving, more than 43 percent of teens admit to sending a text while driving and 75 percent say it is common among their friends. But even more troubling is the fact that these teens feel pressure to respond to texts quickly – within five minutes or less.

Smartphone penetration is very high among teenagers, especially among Hispanic teens who over-index on smartphone and technology adoption. According to this survey, 78 percent of the Hispanic teens interviewed in this survey report owning a smartphone, compared to only 68 percent of Caucasian teenagers. Additionally, Hispanics are more likely to be a cell phone-only household, meaning they use their cell phones as their primary way of communication, according to the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) by the Pew Research Center.

“The prevalence of texting while driving is higher among Hispanic teens, which is why we feel it is our responsibility to help spread the word about the dangers of this risky behavior,” said Brent Wilkes, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). “Thanks to AT&T’s efforts to spread their no-texting-while-driving message throughout the Hispanic community, LULAC can do the same, saving lives in the process.”

With prom, graduation and summer nearing, we head into the “100 deadliest days” for teen drivers on the road – the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Texting also ranks as the No. 1 mode of communication among teens. On average, teens text five times more a day than a typical adult. When this habit hits the road, drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be in an accident or near-accident.

Highlights of Teen Driver Survey:

    Hispanic teens (54 percent) are more likely to admit to the practice of texting while driving than Caucasian (41 percent) and African-American (42 percent) teens.
    Hispanic teens (52 percent) also are more likely to report seeing their parents text while driving, compared to 38 percent of Caucasian teens and 44 percent of African-American teens who reported seeing their parents text while driving.