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Research suggests younger teens are safer drivers, less distracted than older teens

Younger teens are safer drivers, less distracted than older teens, according to new resear

New information shows younger teens might be safer drivers than older teens. A new study shows on the road, high school seniors are much more likely to use their phones than younger teens.

A Harvard Medical School professor polled younger and older teen drivers. He found the high school seniors are way more likely to use apps, text, change music and Snapchat. He also learned the students also felt like their parents became less strict as they got older.

The professor found almost 32 percent of high school seniors admitted to using Snapchat while driving. That's compared to 19 percent of sophomores. The research found seniors were also more likely to use music apps, 48 percent compared to 34 percent of freshmanfreshmen. 48 percent of seniors used GPS while driving versus 41 percent of freshman drivers.

We asked teen El Pasoans if they agree. They said it's because they are more confident. One El Pasoan said growing up with technology has made teens better at multitasking.

“I go through Snapchat. If anybody tags me in any social media, I’ll check it out that moment. I’ll answer texts, answer calls. My phone is my priority while I’m driving,” said 19-year-old Ashley Leyva. “I guess we just grew up with technology in our hands that we don’t really look at the outlook of life around us, we just see the technology that we’re so used to to grow up with. It’s just so easy to grab onto, because we always have all our lives.”

Leyva said even if she has a crash while using her phone, she will probably still go back to distracted driving soon after.

“I’ve never gotten into a car accident. And I don’t think I ever will! At least I hope I don’t! But I’m pretty sure once I do, I’ll stop for a little bit. But then I’ll probably start again! It’s an addiction,” Leyva said. “I’m afraid because I know my mom too like when she calls me and I don’t answer, she’s like, ‘Why didn’t you call me?’ And I’m just like, ‘I’m driving!’ So now I have to like check if it’s her or answer any calls. It’s just difficult!”

Leyva said teens aren’t the only culprit.

“I think everybody is on their phones, I just think that high schoolers are a little bit sloppier with it,” she said. “I’m pretty sure adults are on it too but they don’t text correctly. I’ve been close to car accidents, but I’ve never really had any accidents.”

CBS4 also talked to two 14-year-old drivers in training.

“I can fight that urge of not picking up the phone. Because there’s sometimes where like there’s a bunch of traffic in a little neighborhood, you know?” said 14-year-old David Franco. “Consequences like you’re snapping a photo and like you don’t see there’s a crosswalk for like kids. I can change the way that I am, but like if something happens, I know what I did like it’s going to affect me. And I can change that.”

“My mom is there, so if I use my phone, she’ll smack me. Just on the head! Just a little reminder,” said 14-year-old Kavika Gonzalez. “If she wasn’t there, I’d like go on Snapchat and just like snap a pic of me driving and be like, ‘who wants me to pick them up?’ or something like that. Something dumb.”

Many states drop restrictions on teen drivers when they turn 18, including curfews and limits on the number of passengers.

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