In the United States, where driving while using telephones without hands-free adaptor kits and texting at the wheel are not widely illegal, one in four people confesses to texting and driving, a survey found Wednesday.
"We often like to say 26 percent of people admit to driving while texting. We are sure that underestimates the problem," said Dave Grannan, of Vlingo, a mobile voice application company that polled 4,800 people.
Vlingo says it is the inventor of "voice user interface" technology allowing people to "control their mobile phones with the power of voice" instead of punching buttons.
The company said the poll has a plus or minus 1.41 percent sampling error.
The news comes as those polled revealed that texting -- often seen as more typical behavior for young people -- generally has spread to older people: 60 percent of all mobile phone users are texting, the survey found.
And that means more people potentially texting at the wheel, currently only banned in seven US states and the capital city.
Twenty-six percent of those surveyed said they could not resist a bit of texting while driving, it found. The Hall of Shame went to Tennessee where 42 percent admit to indulging in the dangerous behavior.
And "in our survey, the youngest and least experienced drivers those 16 to 19, they admit by 66 percent driving while texting. That's scary," said Grannan.
"Despite more states adding the laws, and despite some high profile accidents, people are still driving while texting at the same rate they were a year ago," he said, noting: "we would have thought it would go down because of the public awareness and public policy."
Last year, authorities in Los Angeles said the conductor of a train involved in a rail crash that left 25 people dead was sending text messages on his mobile phone during working hours.
(c) 2009 AFP
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