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Half of teens ride with distracted drivers and other key facts

You're a parent. You worry about your kids when they're not home. You still think of them, in some ways, as the little toddlers you had to follow around the house. They may be teens now, but your desire to protect them is the same.

That's why it is important to know about the risks that teenagers face every day. One of the biggest is simply getting in the car with other teens. Car accidents take lives each day and cause many serious injuries. One of the main reasons is distracted driving.

Teaching your own child not to use a cellphone while driving is not enough. Did you know that one study found that around 48 percent of teens have ridden in a car when that vehicle's driver got out a cellphone and started writing or reading a text message?

Odds are that your teen has been in that car. Even if it didn't lead to an accident that time, it very well could the next time.

Below are a few more key facts about teens and distracted driving to keep in mind.

1. The majority of teens from 12 years old to 17 years old have cellphones, coming in at 75 percent. Most of them -- 66 percent, in one study, which really feels low if anything -- receive or send text messages on their phones. That doesn't mean they all do it while driving, but it is important to know how common texting is for teens.

2. About one-third of all teens who do text (34 percent) claim they have done it while driving. This only takes into account minors who are 16 or 17 years old, as they are not yet legal adults but they are old enough to drive. This number may also be low as teens needed to admit to the activity to count.

3. Teens are even more likely to make voice calls than they are to text. This is still a major distraction, typically taking one hand off of the wheel and forcing them to concentrate on at least two things -- driving and holding a conversation -- at once. A full 52 percent of 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds admitted to this.

4. Teens know they're in danger. For instance, when asked if the use of phones had ever "put themselves or others in danger" when someone else was driving, a full 40 percent said that this had happened to them. They understand that riding with these friends is risky, but they do it anyway.

Seeking compensation

If your teenager gets seriously injured in a car accident, you must know if you have a right to financial compensation. This may cover medical bills, lost wages and other costs.

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