The results of the report are somewhat shocking: adults are just as likely to text as teens, and more likely than teens to talk on a cell phone while driving. That second point perhaps isn’t so shocking, as past surveys have found that teens text more, and talk less, on their cell phones.
It does show that adults are taking a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude toward texting while driving. A poll published last year indicated that 89 percent of adults feel texting while driving is dangerous, and that they would support a ban.
It is also somewhat amazing that common sense does not come into play in this sort of behavior. It is difficult to see how anyone can think they are not distracted if text messaging while driving. There are so many examples (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc) that the head spins.
Despite this, here are the key findings of the Pew Research study:
Of those adults who text, 47 percent say they have sent or read a text message while driving
That compares with a survey from 2009, in which one in three (34 percent of teens who text between the ages of 16-17 who said they had “texted while driving.” The survey is skewed toward the male gender: 51 percent of male texters say they have sent or read messages while driving while 42 percent of women texters admitted doing so.
75 percent of cell-owning adults say they have talked on a cell phone while driving
Once again, men are more likely than women to admit to this (78 percent vs. 72 percent).
49 percent of all adults say they have been in a car when the driver was sending or reading text messages on their cell phone
According to the report, there is no gender bias as far as this situation goes. However, the study notes that non-white American adults are more likely to say they have been passengers of texting drivers than whites. 56 percent of African-American adults and 58 percent of Hispanic adults say they have been passengers of texting drivers, while 46 percent of white adults report the same.
44% of all adults say they have been in a car when the driver used the cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger
Men are more likely than women to report being passengers of cell phone-distracted drivers (48 percent vs. 40 percent).
17 percent of cell phone owners have bumped into someone or something while using their handhelds
We will admit, ourselves, to having run into a lamppost once, while reading an email.
These are, of course, numbers for those with cell phones who text message. Among all Americans, that translates to 27 percent of all American adults who say they have sent or read text messages while driving. That compares with 26% of all American teens ages 16-17 who reported texting at the wheel in 2009.
Legislation does not seem to be helping, either. An example can be taken from California: despite laws that ban cell phone use without a hands-free setup and texting while driving, a casual look around as one drives through the San Francisco Bay Area shows plenty flaunting the law. At issue is possibly the low fines associated with such violations: both carry a fine of $20 for a first-time offense and $50 for subsequent offenses.
Common sense doesn’t seem to work either, but then, quite often, humans show very little common sense. An example follows: watch a video of a bus driver’s accident while texting and driving:Embedded video from CNN Video