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Pew Survey: Who is Texting While Driving Now?

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on June 23, 2010 11:45 AM

Those crazy teenagers with their loud music and their constant texting in the car. When will they behave in a responsible manner and learn that distracted driving is very, very dangerous? Maybe when they have a good example to look up to. Results from a new study by the Pew Research Center, announced June 18, say that "adults" text while driving too. In fact, just as much as teens do.

The Pew Research Center says that according to the findings of a September 2009 survey, 47 percent of all texting adults say they have sent or read a text message while driving. That compares with only 34 percent of texting teens ages 16-17, who said they had "texted while driving." That's not all, and maybe this is where they learn those bad habits. Forty-nine percent of adults say they have been passengers in a car when the driver was sending or reading text messages on their cell phone.

Overall, 44 percent of adults say they have been passengers of drivers who used the cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger.

In addition, those strolling the streets don't behave much better. Some cell-using pedestrians get so distracted while talking or texting that they have physically bumped into another person or an object. Fess up if that has happened to you.

A few more scary statistics from the Pew Center:

  • Looking at the general population, 27 percent of all American adults say they have sent or read text messages while driving. That compares with 26 percent of all American teens ages 16-17 who reported texting at the wheel in 2009.
  • Three in four or 75 percent of cell-owning adults say they have talked on a cell phone while driving. Half or 52 percent of cell-owning teens ages 16-17 reported talking on a cell phone while driving in the 2009 survey.
  • Among all adults, 61 percent have talked on a cell phone while driving. That compares with 43 percent of all American teens ages 16-17 who said they had talked on their phones while driving in the 2009 survey.

Remember that old saying that some of our parents used on us, "do as I say, not as I do?" That never worked that well. We would all be safer if those of us who text, talk and drive showed the generation coming up by example how to put down that phone and just drive.

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