It may take only a fraction of a second to send or receive a text message, but that fraction of a second can lead to lifelong consequences if the person sending it is also driving a car. Regrettably, texting and driving continues to be a common behavior among teenagers, even though the repercussions associated with doing so are widely known among drivers across all age groups.

Just how often are today’s teens texting and driving, and is there anything that can help deter this type of behavior?

Troubling survey results

According to Reuters, about a third of all American teenagers acknowledge that they text behind the wheel, even though doing so is one of the most dangerous forms of driver distraction. Because texting while driving causes manual distraction, visual distraction and cognitive distraction, this is an especially dangerous move to make behind the wheel, with distracted drivers causing a multitude of car wrecks and associated injuries every year.

In a survey involving 101,397 teenage residents of 35 different states, 38 percent of respondents reported that they had texted while driving. While this figure is cause for alarm in and of itself, the fact that 34 of the states where respondents came from also banned texting and driving for motorists under the age of 21 makes it even more problematic. The survey also revealed that teens who get their licenses at younger ages tend to begin texting behind the wheel before their peers who wait to get their licenses. The states that allowed teens to get their licenses before they turned 16, for example, had notably higher incidences of texting and driving among teenagers than those that required drivers to be 16 years of age or older.

While there is only so much you can do when teenagers drive negligently, if you happen to be a parent of teenagers, make sure your own children are aware of the risks.