More than 16 percent of those surveyed by phone admitted to texting & driving, according to the January study conducted for the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. Researchers found a high awareness that reading, composing and sending text messages is unlawful in the state.
Drivers also were more likely to talk on cell phones while driving. Six out of 10 told researchers they chatted while behind the wheel, up slightly from 2012. About a third of those surveyed said they made or accepted calls daily. The number of drivers who said they used hands-free devices during calls and those who did not were about evenly split. (Only novice drivers are prohibited from use of cell phones in Michigan.)
One in three drivers confessed to looking at incoming texts and email, a number up significantly from 2012. Most of the drivers said they “rarely” texted while driving, but more than 21 percent said they did so daily. Another 21 percent said they did so “a couple of times a week.”
The vast majority of those surveyed — 84 percent — were aware that texting & driving was illegal in Michigan.
Eight in 10 rated their driving skills were better than average.
The “Driver Attitude and Beliefs” phone survey included responses from 600 drivers. Only 20 percent were contacted via their cell phones, so it’s possible the distracted driving numbers would be higher among those without land lines.