It’s well known that texting while driving is a quickly-growing problem that endangers all involved. Most people associate texting and driving with teenagers-however, recent statistics have shown that more adults than children admit to texting while driving.
According to a recent survey by AT&T, about half of adults admit to texting while driving, compared with 43 percent of teen surveyed. What’s more, 98 percent of adults surveyed admit to knowing texting while driving is wrong, and 6 in 10 say there were not texting and driving 3 years ago.
The survey results go against what many believed about texting and driving. “I was a little bit surprised,” said Charlene Lake, AT&T’s senior vice president of public affairs. “It was sobering to realize that texting while driving by adults is not only high, it’s really gone up in the last 3 years.” The AT&T survey included 1,011 adult drivers.
Adults texting while driving is an especially alarming issue considering the amount of adult drivers on the road. “Texting while driving is not just a teen problem,” noted John Ulczycki of the National Safety Council. “Teens text. But you’re looking at around 10 million teen drivers, but around 180 million other adult drivers.”
The AT&T survey followed a study performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which reported that 31 percent of drivers in the U.S. admitted to texting or e-mailing while driving. The CDC also revealed that more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 are injured in crashes caused by distracted driving, daily.
The U.S. Department of transportation defines distracted driving as any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving, including eating, drinking, grooming, talking to passengers, reading, using a GPS, using a cell phone or smartphone, and texting.
Texting while driving is considered the most dangerous distraction because it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver. In 2011, 3,331 people died in car crashes involving a distracted driver, which increased from 3,267 in 2010, according to the Department of Transportation.
Research has found that, in the average time a driver takes their eyes off the road to read a text, they can travel the length of a football field. It was also found that texting while driving creates a risk of crash 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.
The AT&T survey was part of it’s It Can Wait campaign. The campaign, which was initiated 4 years ago, encourages driver to take a pledge that states they will wait to text until they are not driving. CUrrently, more than 1.3 million people have taken the pledge.
AT&T also encourages business to join the campaign, and to urge their employees to take the pledge and increase awareness. More than 165 business have signed up. one of the businesses, insurer USAA, took the campaign’s objective especially to heart, according to Joel Camarano, executive director of property and casualty underwriting at USAA, the nation’s 6th largest auto insurer.
“USAA was so impressed with the It Can Wait campaign that we sponsored our own campaign to not text while driving for our employees,” said Camarano. About 6,500 of the company’s 24,700 employees took the pledge in about a week. “We are currently in discussions to figure out the most effective way we can … expand the reach of this important campaign.”