A new survey (PDF) from the state Department of Public Health finds that 42 percent of Massachusetts high school students who drive admit to texting while behind the wheel.
The worst offenders are [driving] high school seniors, with 61 percent admitting they do it.
The survey results come two days after Haverhill 18-year-old Aaron Deveau became the first person in Massachusetts to be convicted of causing a fatal traffic accident while texting.
While the survey was given to high school students, Jeff Larson, of the nonprofit Safe Roads Alliance, made it clear to WBUR on Thursday that texting-while-driving is a widespread issue.
“While teens certainly do a lot of texting, I think adults tend to look at teens being the ones who are the most dangerous in this, and that’s not the case,” he said. “Adults do the bulk of the driving, they do the bulk of the texting [and emailing on their cellphones]. It’s not a teen issue; it’s for the rest of us.”
The state survey queried nearly 5,400 high school students in the spring of 2011 on a wide variety of health and behavior issues, from cyber-bullying to perceptions of obesity.
The survey data, the Globe adds, "will help state officials target their battle plans for changing risky and unhealthy behaviors, especially the information about texting and cyber-bullying."
This program aired on June 8, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.