MISSOURI — We’ve all experienced it — you’re driving the speed limit and nearly zoom into the back of another car that’s traveling 10 mph slower and ping-ponging between the lines. Maybe the driver simply lost focus and will self-correct, you think. Wrong. You’re met with brake lights even though no one and nothing is around. You speed around the driver and stare daggers through their window. But the teenager, buried in a phone, doesn’t look up.
Sound familiar? It should. A new study published in August in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that nearly four in 10 high school students — 38 percent — text while driving. In Missouri, where the minimum learner’s permit age is 15, that number is even higher. Missouri ranked 7th on the list. Forty-seven percent of Missouri teenagers admitted to texting while driving.
That number ranged from a low of 26 percent (Maryland) to a high of 64 percent (South Dakota). In Maryland, you have to be 15 years and 9 months old to get a learner’s permit. In South Dakota, 14-year-olds can get behind the wheel.