Teens not getting the message about texting and driving

Survey suggests state anti-texting laws are not highly effective

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A new risk-behavior study shows that texting while driving is very common.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Despite the wave of horrifying ads featuring parents of teens who died as a result of texting while driving, the message isn’t sinking in with the target demographic.

Nearly 43 percent of high school students of driving age who were surveyed in 2011 reported texting while driving at least once in the preceding 30 days, according to a study by researchers with the Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York.

“Texting while driving has become, in the words of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a ‘national epidemic,’” said lead researchers Alexandra Bailin. “Although teens may be developmentally predisposed to engage in risk-taking behavior, reducing the prevalence of texting while driving is an obvious and important way to ensure the health and safety of teen drivers, their passengers and the surrounding public,” Bailin said. Continue reading

Study: High school science teachers weak on evolution

More refreshers courses needed, Penn State researchers say

Many high school science teachers failing when it comes to teaching evolutionary science.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — High school biology teachers are only lukewarm when it comes to teaching evolutionary biology, despite 40 years of court rulings that teaching creationism or intelligent design violates the Constitution, according to Penn State political scientists. A mandatory undergraduate course in evolutionary biology for prospective teachers, and frequent refresher courses for current teachers, may be part of the solution, they say.

“Considerable research suggests that supporters of evolution, scientific methods, and reason itself are losing battles in America’s classrooms,” said Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer, professors of political science at Penn State, in today’s (Jan. 28) issue of Science. Continue reading

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