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The CDC survey didn’t ask whether the texting or emailing was done while the vehicle was moving or stopped. The survey is conducted every two years, but this was the first time it asked about texting while driving.

Young’s fender bender occurred one winter afternoon while he was in crawling traffic on his way to a guitar lesson. No one was hurt.

It’s frustrating that the accident did not break him of the habit, Rimasse said.

She described her son as an articulate honors student in North Arlington who walks to school and spends little time in the SUV that they share.

But he is also part of a teen culture where virtually everyone texts while driving and thinks nothing bad will happen, she lamented.

“Nothing seems to stop them,” his mother said. “It’s ridiculous.”

“Everybody just does it,” Young said.

CDC officials said there was some good news in the survey:

_ More teens are wearing seatbelts. Only 8 percent said they rarely or never wear seatbelts, down from 26 percent in 1991.

_ Fewer teens said they drove drunk (8 percent vs. double that in the 1990s) or rode with a driver who had been drinking (24 percent, down from 40 percent).

Overall, teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes are down 44 percent in the last decade. About 3,100 teens died from traffic crashes in 2009, according to the most recent federal statistics.

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Associated Press Writer Joan Lowy in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

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