Study: Teens not the worst text-driving culprits

Jun 18, 2010 By RACHEL METZ , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- If you're about to warn your teenager about the dangers of texting or talking on the phone while driving, a new report suggests you look in the mirror first.

A study released Friday by The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project says adults and teenagers are equally likely to have texted while . And adults are more likely to have chatted on their phones while driving.

The study found that 47 percent of adults who text reported sending or reading texts while behind the wheel. In a 2009 Pew study, a lower number - 34 percent - of 16- and 17-year-olds who send texts said that they did that while driving.

Because not everyone has a phone or sends texts, the report said the findings indicate that 27 percent of all U.S. adults have sent or read texts while driving and 26 percent of all U.S. 16- and 17-year-olds have done so.

The study also found that adults are much more likely to chat on their phones while driving: 75 percent of adults with mobile phones said they talked and drove. Fifty-two percent of teenagers with cell phones said they did so in last year's study.

That would translate into a finding that 61 percent of all U.S. adults talk on the phone while driving, while the 2009 study indicates that 43 percent of all 16- and 17-year-olds do likewise.

Mary Madden, a senior research specialist for Pew and the study's lead author, said that while many educational efforts that emphasize the dangers of distracted driving have targeted teens, the findings show a need to educate adults, too.

"I think all of us can identify with that temptation to stay connected during those idle moments in the car. ... The reality is, even if the car isn't moving, a delayed response to a green light or at a stop sign can still result in an accident," she said.

The Pew study didn't take into account that some drivers may be using handsfree devices such as Bluetooth headsets when they talk and drive, but Madden pointed out that simply having a conversation can be a distraction.

Even when not driving, adults are still engrossed in their phones: The study said that 17 percent of adults who have cell phones reported walking into other people or things because they were so busy using their phones to text or chat.

The survey used telephone interviews with 2,252 adults between April 29 and May 30. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

Explore further: Christian Bale to play Apple's Steve Jobs

1 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cell phone users drive like old folks

Feb 06, 2005

Elderly also drive worse when chatting, but not as bad as expected If you have been stuck in traffic behind a motorist yakking on a cellular phone, a new University of Utah study will sound familiar: When young motorists ...

Recommended for you

Christian Bale to play Apple's Steve Jobs

Oct 23, 2014

Oscar-winner Christian Bale—best known for his star turn as Batman in the blockbuster "Dark Knight" films—will play Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in an upcoming biopic.

How to find a submarine

Oct 23, 2014

Das Boot, The Hunt for Red October, The Bedford Incident, We Dive At Dawn: films based on submariners' experience reflect the tense and unusual nature of undersea warfare – where it is often not how well ...

Government ups air bag warning to 7.8M vehicles (Update)

Oct 22, 2014

The U.S. government is now urging owners of nearly 8 million cars and trucks to have the air bags repaired because of potential danger to drivers and passengers. But the effort is being complicated by confusing ...

HP supercomputer at NREL garners top honor

Oct 21, 2014

A supercomputer created by Hewlett-Packard (HP) and the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that uses warm water to cool its servers, and then re-uses that water to heat its building, has been ...

User comments : 0