New study results published by the Centers for Disease Control found that 58 percent of high school seniors admit to texting while driving. However, officials say these numbers could easily be higher than reported.
Caroline Johnson, drivers education coordinator for the city traffic engineer's office, said in her experience, the numbers could easily be 5 to 10 percent more than what has been reported.
"Honestly, the numbers didn't surprise me," Johnson said. "I don't like the numbers at all, but they don't surprise me. I actually feel that those numbers should probably be a little higher, [and] that is something that I am trying to combat."
Johnson said a culture of multitasking is partially to blame for the high numbers of younger people texting and driving.
"I think the problem is kids are so used to multitasking because they have been doing it all their lives," she said. "A lot of times, if they aren't doing three or four things at once, they feel like they aren't doing anything."
Because of these high rates, taking a driver education course is important, Johnson said.
"It is not just about getting from point A to point B; it is about navigating the way safely between the two," she said.
Edmunds.com Vice Chairman Jeremy Anwyl said, like Johnson, the numbers did not surprise him.
“This won't surprise anyone who has a teenage driver, but the issue is much broader than just texting,” Anwyl said. “Teenagers are wired to be more comfortable with risk, and many even crave it. This is why bans on texting are ineffective. It may not be an easy answer, but the key for reducing teenage risky behaviors of all types lies ultimately in education and parenting.”