• Adults just as likely to text while driving, survey says.

Adults just as likely to text while driving, survey says.

Tuesday June 22, 2010

WASHINGTON — Adults are just as likely as teens to have texted while driving and are substantially more likely to have talked on the phone while driving, a survey by The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project revealed. 

In addition, 49 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. 

Beyond driving, some cell-toting pedestrians get so distracted while talking or texting that they have physically bumped into another person or an object.

These are some of the key findings from the survey:

• Nearly half (47 percent) of all texting adults say they have sent or read a text message while driving. That compares with one in three (34 percent) texting teens ages 16-17 who said they had "texted while driving" in a September 2009 survey.1 

• Looking at the general population, this means that 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 (75 percent) cell-owning adults say they have talked on a cell phone while driving. Half (52 percent) of cell-owning teens ages 16-17 reported talking on a cell phone while driving in the 2009 survey.

• Among all adults, that translates into 61 percent who 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. 

• Half (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. The same number (48 percent) of all teens ages 12-17 said they had been in a car "when the driver was texting."

• 44 percent 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. About the same number of teens (40 percent) said they had been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a dangerous way.

• Beyond driving, one in six (17 percent) cell-owning adults say they have physically bumped into another person or an object because they were distracted by talking or texting on their phone. That amounts to 14 percent of all American adults who have been so engrossed in talking, texting or otherwise using their cell phones that they bumped into something or someone. 

These new findings for those ages 18 and older come from a nationwide phone survey of 2,252 American adults (744 of the interviews were conducted on cell phones) conducted between April 29 and May 30. In that survey, 1,917 were cell owners and 1,189 used text messaging. The margin of error in the full sample is two percentage points and in the cell subpopulation is three percentage points. 

The findings for teens are based on previously released data from a separate nationwide telephone survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research International between June 26 and September 24, 2009, among a sample of 800 teens ages 12-17 and a parent or guardian.

 

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