One in four drivers admitted to texting while driving in the past month, a new AAA survey reports. While teenagers often get the most blame, this survey found drivers age 25-39 are actually the worst offenders.
Texting while driving is against the law in Massachusetts and 40 other states. But in the new survey, 26 percent of drivers reported sending a text or e-mail while driving in the past month. Among drivers age 25-39, 45 percent admitted to texting or sending an e-mail while driving and 10 percent admitted they did so fairly often.
These drivers were also most likely to drive while talking on a handheld cell phone, with 82 percent admitting to doing so in the past month and 43 percent saying they did it fairly often. Talking on a cell phone while driving is still legal in many states, including Massachusetts, but legislation is pending to restrict that activity.
Drivers 19-24 were second most likely to text while driving, with 42 percent confessing to it at least once in the previous month and 11 percent saying they did it fairly often.
Drivers age 16-18 were third most likely, followed by drivers ages 40-59, then 60 and older. Drivers age 75 and older were the least likely, but even one percent of them admitted to texting and 31 percent admitted to talking on a handheld cell phone while driving in the previous month.
A few notes:
- One out of 10 fatal car crashes involves distraction, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths per year in the U.S.
- At any given daylight moment, approximately 660,000 drivers in the U.S. are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- Using a cell phone while driving quadruples your chance for being involved in a car accident, according to AAA.
- Talking on a handheld cell phone is banned in 12 states and the District of Columbia. It is legal in Massachusetts and the rest of New England. Cell phone use is restricted for novice drivers in 37 states and the District of Columbia.
- Texting while driving is banned for drivers in 41 states and the District of Columbia, including Massachusetts. It is also banned in other New England states. Six other states have bans prohibiting novice drivers from texting.
- Using hands-free devices or infotainment systems is not safer than using handheld cell phones or texting, according to a study by a University of Utah research team. The study last summer tested voice-to-text technology which allows drivers to talk on the phones, send texts and e-mails and use social media without touching a cell phone. The study measured driver alertness using cameras mounted inside the vehicle and diagnostic tools to measure reaction time and brain activity.
- Researchers ranked voice-to-talk technology as more dangerous than using a handheld cell phone and listening to a radio.
Map of handheld cell phone bans, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Hands-free talking, texting is unsafe, University of Utah