During the past 20 years, U.S. high school students have shown significant improvement in many driving-related behaviors, according to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study -- the 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey -- found several areas of improvement, including declines in the percentage of high school students who:
- Never or rarely wear a seat belt. Declined from 28 percent in 1991 to 8 percent in 2011.
- Rode with a driver (within the past 30 days) who consumed alcohol. Declined from 40 percent in 1991 to 24 percent in 2011.
- Drove a car (within the past 30 days) after drinking alcohol. Declined from 17 percent in 1997 to 8 percent in 2011.
However, challenges remain. For example, one in three young drivers reported texting and emailing while behind the wheel during the past 30 days.
In a press statement, Howell Wechsler, director of the CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health, said his organization is "encouraged that more of today's high school students are choosing healthier, safer behaviors."
"However, these findings also show that despite improvements, there is a continued need for government agencies, community organizations, schools, parents and other community members to work together to address the range of risk behaviors prevalent among our youth."