It can be nerve racking knowing that you may be sharing the road with a 16 year-old-driver who lacks the experience of responsible driving. Situations with inexperienced drivers increasingly become dangerous when they are driving during inclement weather or have a car load of their friends with them. These dangers are on top of what we already fear from a teenage driver, that they may be engaged with their phone and not paying attention to the road.

The CDC has made the estimation that nine people die every day due to distracted driving. Now there is new research that shows nearly 40 percent of teenagers have admitted to texting or sending an email while driving in the past 30 days.

In some of the states that surveyed students, drivers can legally be behind the wheel at the age of 14. However, the study concluded that the older the teenager was, the more likely they would be texting and driving.

States with the highest concentration of teens driving while texting

States with the highest incidents of teens saying they have driven distracted (Montana, Wyoming, North & South Dakota and Nebraska), are states with relatively low populations and wide-open spaces. This may be giving some teens confidence that they can handle driving while distracted. However, anytime a driver is not paying attention to the road, a catastrophic accident can occur.

Other factors relate to distracted driving

Using a phone to text or send an email was not the only risky behavior being exhibited by teens in this survey. Those that did not wear a seat belt were over 20 percent more likely to drive distracted. Teenagers that indicated they have drove after drinking were 91 percent more likely to text and drive.

Laws in place to help

One of the ways to combat the problem of distracted driving will be to put laws in place to try to stop these behaviors. Currently, there are 47 states that have laws for texting while driving and 38 states have laws totally restricting cell phone use while driving. One of the problems facing drivers in general is that most people, including teenagers, know that driving distracted is dangerous and illegal but keep doing it anyway.

Parents/family to the rescue

One way many experts believe this problem can be solved is by adults being a role model to these young drivers. Most notably, family and close friends. If parents and older brothers and sisters can refrain from distracted driving, the teenager may emulate their responsibility. Parents should also establish clear rules about when they can use their devices while in the car. If you are dealing with a teenager who is having a hard time kicking the texting and driving habit, you can offer money for leaving a phone at home or install apps on their phone to disable it while driving.

Whether you are a concerned parent of a teenager or just a regular citizen concerned for their own safety, it may be vital to get teenagers to drive more responsibly before a fatal accident occurs. If you have been hurt in an accident where the other driver may have been distracted by their phone, you should consult with a personal injury attorney who may be able to work with you on receiving compensation.