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Teens Text More While Driving Than Parents Think: Study

Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Teenagers are 26 times more likely to send text messages while driving than their parents expect, based on preliminary results of a safety study by Toyota Motor Corp. and the University of Michigan.

The survey of more than 5,500 people in the U.S., consisting of drivers aged 16 to 18 and their parents, also found 69 percent of teens regularly drive with other teenagers and no adults, Toyota said in a statement yesterday.

“Teens read or send text messages once a trip 26 times more often than their parents think they do,” Toyota said in the statement. Some 54 percent of teens surveyed in the study also said they use a hand-held mobile phone while driving.

The study is part of efforts by Toyota to boost vehicle safety after record recalls of Toyota vehicles in 2009 and 2010 for gasoline-pedal defects. The Toyota City, Japan-based company said in January 2011 it would spend $50 million over five years on a Collaborative Safety Research Center at its technical center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to find ways to reduce auto fatalities. Ann Arbor also is the site of the University of Michigan’s main campus.

Automotive crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, with seven drivers between ages 16 and 19 dying daily in 2010 as a result of accidents, Toyota said, citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Toyota, Asia’s largest automaker, fell 1.3 percent to 3,530 yen in Tokyo trading yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at

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