One in four (27%) American adults say they have texted while driving, the same proportion as the number of driving age teens (26%) who say they have texted while driving.
The numbers come from are report entitled "Adults and cell phone distractions" released today by the Pew Internet and American Life Project .
In addition, three out of five (61%) of of adults admit to having talked on their cell phones while they were behind the wheel, a number that is considerably higher than the number of 16- and 17-year-olds (43%) who have talked on their cells while driving.
Almost half (49%) of adults say they have been passengers in a car when the driver was sending or reading text messages on their cell phone.
“While previous research has shown that one in four teen drivers text at the wheel, this data suggests that adults are now just as likely to engage in this risky behavior” said Mary Madden, Senior Research Specialist at the Internet & American Life Project and co-author of the report. “Adults may be the ones sounding the alarm on the dangers of distracted driving, but they don’t always set the best example themselves.”
Other findings from the Adults and Cell Phone Distractions Report:
- Eight in ten (82%) American adults now own cell phones and 58% send or receive text messages.
- Male texters are more likely to report texting at the wheel; 51% of men who use text messaging say they have sent or read messages while driving while 42% of women texters say the same.
- Those in the Millennial generation (ages 18-33) are more likely than any other age group to report texting while driving. While 59% of texting Millennials say they have sent or read messages at the wheel, 50% of text-using Gen Xers (ages 34-45) and 29% of texting Baby Boomers (ages 46-64) report the same.
“It is just as hard for adults as it is for teenagers to resist chatting with friends and sending off that quick text even in the midst of heavy traffic,” said Lee Rainie, Director of the Internet & American Life Project and co-author of the distractions report. “Constant mobile connectivity to friends, family and colleagues is a hallmark of age and it is hard to resist even in situations where it would seem smart to stay focused on the task at hand.”
The findings 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. The margin of error in the full sample is two percentage points and in the cell subpopulation is three percentage points.
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