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Posted: Wednesday, December 11th 2013 at 9:27am

AAA study: Adults text and drive more often than teens

By Staff
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TAMPA) – High school-aged teens report using their phones or texting while driving substantially less often than adults do, according to new research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. While the public often cites teens as being the most common offenders, a recent survey found that adult drivers ages 25-39 were the most likely to admit engaging in these risky behaviors behind the wheel.

“It's noteworthy that the young novice drivers are using their phones while driving less than older drivers since, given their inexperience, they are especially susceptible to distracted driving crashes,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “At the same time, it is discouraging that cell phone usage picks up when drivers gain more experience, as using a phone can lead to dangerous distractions behind the wheel.”

Two out of three drivers reported using a cell while driving within the past month. Forty-three percent of adults ages 25-39 reported doing so fairly often or regularly while driving, compared to only 20 percent of teens. Motorists age 60 and up were the least likely to report using a phone.

“Using your cell phone while driving may seem safe, but it greatly increases your risk of being in a crash according to our research results,” said Michele Harris, AAA director of traffic safety culture. “None of us are immune to the dangers of distracted driving. Staying focused on driving is the right call for all drivers.”

More than one-in-four motorists reported sending a text or email while driving within the past month. Adults ages 25-39 reported texting and driving most frequently, while those age 60 and up reported doing it the least.

Nearly nine-in-ten (88 percent) motorists believe distracted driving is a bigger problem now than it was three years ago. About 89 percent believe that other drivers talking on a cell phone while driving is a serious threat to their personal safety, while nearly all (96 percent) believe that others texting or emailing while behind the wheel is a serious threat.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one out of every ten fatal crashes involves distraction, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths per year, although experts agree the numbers are likely underestimated. Previous research shows that hands-free cell phones offer no significant safety benefits over handheld phones – hands-free is not risk-free.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety collected the data as part of the 2013 Traffic Safety Culture Index. The data are from a sample of 2,325 licensed drivers, ages 16 and older, who reported driving in the past 30 days.
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