Streets of Chicago (Texting cab driver)

The photographer writes: “Notice the taxi driver is texting on his cell phone!”

Campaigns against texting while driving have focused mostly on teens and other young people, but a new survey sponsored by AT&T finds that 49% of adults admit to texting behind the wheel, as Nidhi Subbaraman writes for NBC News.

As Cindy Barth points out in the Orlando Business Journal, that means that more adults than teens text while driving, as 43% of teens admit to the risky behavior. The survey polled 1,011 adult drivers, 98% of whom said they know that texting while driving is wrong, Barth writes.

And the number of adult drivers who text behind the wheel has increased in the last three years, she writes. Sixty percent of the adults said they did not text while driving three years ago, as NBC News writes.

Barth quotes Charlene Lake, AT&T’s senior vice president of public affairs:

I was a little bit surprised. It was sobering to realize that texting while driving by adults is not only high, it’s really gone up in the last three years.

NBC News writes that a member of the National Safety Council told USA TODAY that this trend is something to be concerned about, because there are a lot more adults on the roads than there are teens: 10 million teens are novice drivers, as compared with 180 million adults. The NSC estimates that 23% of all crashes each year involve cell phone use, resulting in 1.3 million auto accidents nationally.

According to a press release appearing on MarketWatch, AT&T is asking employers to take action during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April to help end texting while driving. It is urging businesses to join the more than 165 organizations already engaged in the “Texting & Driving — It Can Wait” movement. AT&T offers policies, technologies, and communications materials for free at to assist businesses in moving their employees to make a personal commitment not to text and drive.

Back in December, this blog wrote that a study showed that parents play a key role in getting teens not to text while driving. The study, by the University of Michigan (UM) Transportation Research Institute and Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., found that the teen children of parents who talk on cell phones, send texts, eat, or drink while driving are more likely to have the same distracted driving behavior.

A UM press release in our blog post quoted Ray Bingham, research professor and head of UMTRI’s Young Driver Behavior and Injury Prevention Group:

Children look to their parents for a model of what is acceptable. Parents should know that every time they get behind the wheel with their child in the car they are providing a visible example that their child is likely to follow.

Image by Wesley Fryer.

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