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Risky Behavior By High School Students is Down

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) conducts the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey of about 15,000 U.S. high school students every two years. Dangerous behavior continues to drop in many key areas, but it is up in some others.

The percentage of high school students who…

  • Never or rarely wore a seatbelt declined from 26% to 8% from 1991 to 2011.
  • Rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol during the past 30 days declined from 40% to 24% from 1991 to 2011.
  • Had driven a car during the past 30 days after drinking alcohol decreased from 17% in 1997 to 8% in 2011.

Alcohol remains the most commonly used drug among high school students.

  • 1 in 3 high school students reported drinking alcohol in 2011
  • 1 in 5 reported binge drinking in 2011
  • And yet, both groups have decreased by over ten percent since the late 1990s.

Marijuana use has…

  • Decreased slightly from 27% in 1999 to 23% in 2011.
  • Become more common than cigarette use (18%).

The use of technology among youth has resulted in new risks…

  • 1 in 3 high school students had texted or e-mailed while driving a car or other vehicle during the past 30 days.
  • 1 in 6 had been bullied through email, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites, or texting during the past 12 months.

Read analysis and explore the data from the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey.