Montana News

Jul 9, 2013 3:11 PM by Marnee Banks (Helena)

Report: MT high school students drive distracted

HELENA - A statewide survey of Montana high school students shows that alcohol and tobacco use is on the decline, but distracted driving is up sharply.

Montana's Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau (D) is concerned about the increase in distracted driving.

Juneau's office released its 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey on Tuesday.

It shows that about 15% of teenagers report being current smokers; that's down 1% from last year.

An estimated 37% of high school students have consumed alcohol in the last month, also a decrease of 1%.

However, more students are driving while distracted, with 61% having talked on a cell phone while driving and 56% of students texting while driving.

These numbers are up dramatically from last year.

"We now know we have a huge issue with distracted driving and young people," Juneau explains. "[We need to] make sure that we are getting enough information out there, and make sure that schools have policies or information that they need [to address it]."

Click here to read the entire report (PDF).