Nothing new there, but several recent surveys shed more light on the problem.
Results of five recent surveys regarding cell phone and texting use are consistent with attitudinal studies conducted over the past 10 years. The latest numbers strongly suggest that widespread distracted driving educational efforts still have a lot of work left to do.
A Roper poll of U.S. adults shows, in fact, that the higher the overall education level, the more likely a driver is to use a handheld cell phone or text message while behind the wheel.
The poll, sponsored by InsuranceQuotes.com, indicated 93 percent of all adults engage in some form of distracted driving.
About 40 percent said they crashed, received a ticket or exhibited dangerous driving behavior as a result. But when the sample size was limited to drivers with college degrees, the number increased to almost 50 percent.
When it comes to serious accidents, the well-educated drivers reported more than double the number of wrecks than all drivers. Similar but less dramatic increases were found among high-income drivers.
A study of teenage drivers indicates that they continue to become more aware of of the dangers of text messaging while driving, with six of 10 agreeing that texting was the most dangerous distracted behavior.
But more than half of the young drivers admitted to texting while driving at least sometimes, according to the annual Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) study.
“More than 40 percent of teens who text while driving send more than 10 messages from behind the wheel each day,” the survey of almost 2,300 young drivers said.
Almost 7 out of 10 teens said they talked on a cell phone while driving.
67 percent of drivers surveyed by the AAA Foundation reported using a cell phone while driving in September, with one in three saying they frequently engaged in calls while behind the wheel.
More than a third of the drivers surveyed said they had text messaged while driving in the past month.
Of those admitting to talking and driving, “28% admitted to answering a call while driving on a freeway with heavy traffic more than half the time and 15% said they make calls on the freeway fairly often or regularly,” the Foundation reported.
More than half of those distracted drivers reported texting while stopped at red lights. And 16 percent admitted to reading text messages while driving in heavy freeway traffic.
Support for laws that ban texting while driving remains high, at 87 percent. About 70 percent of the 3,147 residents surveyed said they supported laws against handheld cell phone use while driving.
Another pair of surveys found a staggering amount of texting by younger adults and tracked the Internet use of smartphone owners.
About 83 percent of 10 U.S. adults own cell phones and three-quarters of them use their devices for text messaging, a Pew Internet report on texting behaviors found.
To no one’s surprise, young adults (18-24) were the heaviest users. But get this: They send or receive an average of 109.5 messages on any given day. “That works out to more than 3,200 texts per month,” Pew reported. The survey group as a whole (2,277 adults) averaged 41.5 texts a day.
The texting report also said half of the people who do the most texting would rather communicate by text instead of by a phone call.
“Overall, the survey found that both text messaging and phone calling on cell phones have leveled off for the adult population as a whole,” Pew researchers said.
Another Pew report found that a third of U.S. adults own smartphones. People under 45 were among the groups most likely to say they own one, the survey found.
Some 87% of smartphone owners access the internet or email on their handheld, including two-thirds (68%) who do so on a typical day. When asked what device they normally use to access the internet, 25% of smartphone owners say that they mostly go online using their phone, rather than with a computer.
The texting survey was done in April and May, and the smartphone study was conducted in May.