Drivers Pan Texting Behind The Wheel, But Do It Anyway

A survey of 5,000 mobile phone users found about 60% of younger drivers admitted to texting while behind the wheels of their vehicles.
The overwhelming majority of mobile phone users believe driving while texting (DWT) should be banned, but many who frown on the practice do it anyway, according to a survey of 5,000 mobile phone users released Wednesday.

The survey, released by voice-recognition provider Vlingo, found that 83% of the survey respondents thought DWT should be banned outright while about 60% of younger drivers admitted to texting while behind the wheels of their vehicles. Not surprisingly, the younger the driver, the more likely the driver is to text while driving.

The survey, conducted by independent market researcher Toluna, found that nearly 60% of drivers between 16 and 19 admitted to DWT. The percentages declined with escalating ages -- 49% of drivers with cell phones between 20 and 29 said they texted while driving and 13% of those in their 50s said they texted while driving.

The Vlingo Consumer Mobile Messaging Habits Report, which compared statistics compiled last year, also found that text messaging continues to grow, with nearly 60% of mobile phone users now doing some sort of texting on their handsets.

"In just one year, the public conversation about the issue of DWT has escalated, particularly in the wake of some high-profile accidents," said Dave Grannan, Vlingo CEO, in a statement. "Texting is such an integral component of our daily lives, and the cautionary tales about DWT danger have not stemmed the tide. The good news is that many state legislatures are starting to take up this issue, and today, more advanced technologies exist that can increase safety on the roads." Vlingo said nearly 70% of the survey respondents favored using voice-recognition technology on their handsets.

Vlingo's survey also turned up additional interesting statistics and trends on cell phone texting. Texting alone is gaining on voice calling as a primary messaging function, with nearly half of the survey respondents reporting that they do both -- texting and calling -- in equal numbers. The 13 to 19 age group leads in texting use, with each individual averaging more than 500 texts a month.

Surprisingly, consumers with data plans aren't taking full advantage of their plans -- the survey found that 41% with data plans don't text, 70% don't browse the Web, and 73% don't use e-mail.

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