PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – New information released Monday by the US Department of Transportation shows 63% of drivers under the age of 30 are using cell phones behind the wheel. And that can be a dangerous combination.

The number of people driving and texting or taking cell phone calls has prompted the US Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, to declare an epidemic on America’s roads, because of distracted driving.

The Department of Transportation reports more than 5,000 people were killed in 2009 by distracted drivers, including those using cell phones or texting.

Jana Tidwell with Mid-Atlantic AAA, said, “Because we’re looking at the under-30 demographic and especially teen drivers, it’s especially alarming because car crashes are the leading cause of death among teens.”

She says the best driving is done without a cell phone in your hands, no matter what the age of the driver. Tidwell says drivers over age 30 have to set the example for the younger generation, by not driving and talking on the cell phone and especially no texting.

Reported by Kim Glovas, KYW Newsradio

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