CDC: Texting and Driving Now Leading Cause of Teen Deaths

JOPLIN, MO.--- Texting and driving has surpassed drinking and driving as the leading cause of teen deaths, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"They don't think it's going to happen but when it does, it's very alarming," said Lauren Guthery, McAuley High School Junior.

As leaders of Students Against Destructive Decisions, these McAuley High School students discuss the dangers of texting behind the wheel.

"I sent one text while driving and I kinda veered so I learned my lesson," said Guthery.

Logan Allgood also won't text when he's in the driver's seat, and doesn't think others should either.

"The safety of the person himself and then public safety as well, because of the fact you're harming other people at the same time," said Logan Allgood, McAuley High School Junior.

Texting and driving has surpassed drinking and driving as the leading cause of teen deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drinking and driving claims 2,700 teen lives a year, while researchers from Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York report texting and driving eclipses that number at 3,000.

"Texting is something that people do about 24 hours a day, roughly, whereas opposed to drinking, it's probably only done more on the weekends, night time situations. It's not surprising at all," said Allgood.

Police officers say multi-tasking increases the time it takes for a driver to react.

"Some people are really good at multi-tasking but the human brain is not really set up for that, anything that distracts you from your primary function is going to increase your reaction time," said Corporal Chuck Niess, Joplin Police Department.

These high school students say the study could be a wake up call.

"If your eyes aren't on the road, anything can happen," said Guthery.

Joplin police officers recommend that parents be aware of what their children are doing while driving.

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