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Self-report Behaviors
Q: Does the proportion of high school students engaging in risky driving behaviors vary by demographics?
A: About 1 in 20 (5.4%) high school students who drove a car in the last 30 days did so after drinking, and nearly 4 in 10 (39%) texted or emailed while driving in 2019.

Percent of high school students engaging in risky driving behaviors, by demographics, 2019

Demographics Drove after having
a few drinks
Text or e-mailed
while driving
All high school students 5.4% 39.0%
Male 7.0% 39.6%
Female 3.6% 38.4%
White* 5.1% 43.9%
Black/African American* 4.1% 29.5%
Hispanic or Latino 6.6% 35.2%
American Indian/Alaska Native* NA NA
Asian* 5.1% 30.3%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander* NA NA
Multiple Race* 6.3% 37.5%
9th 3.0% 17.2%
10th 3.7% 22.4%
11th 5.1% 41.8%
12th 7.8% 59.5%

*Excludes persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Persons of Hispanic ethnicity can be any race.
NA: Too few respondents to develop a reliable estimate.
Notes: For each behavior, respondents were asked if they had done so at least 1 day in the past 30 days.

  • Male students were more likely than their female peers to report driving after having a few drinks but males and females were equally likely to report texting/emailing while driving.
  • Non-Hispanic white high school students were more likely to text/email while driving than black, Hispanic, and Asian students.
  • About 1 of every 13 (7.8%) high school seniors who drove a car in the past 30 days did so after drinking, and nearly 3 of every 5 seniors (59.5%) texted or emailed while driving; seniors were more likely to engage in either behavior than freshmen, sophomores, or juniors.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: Released on September 21, 2020.

Data Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 1991-2019 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. Available at Accessed August 2020.

The national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) monitors priority health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults in the United States. The national YRBS is conducted every two years and provides data representative of 9th through 12th grade students in public and private schools throughout the United States.