Survey finds people text and drive knowing dangers

Nearly everyone agrees that texting and driving is dangerous.....

By: | Updated: March 21, 2016 12:56 PM

 Nearly everyone agrees that texting and driving is dangerous. (Reuters)

Nearly everyone agrees that texting and driving is dangerous. (Reuters)

Nearly everyone agrees that texting and driving is dangerous. Most people do it anyway.

In a new survey, 98 per cent of motorists who own cellphones and text regularly said they were aware of the dangers, yet three-quarters of them admitted to texting while driving, despite laws against it in some states.

Two-thirds said they have read text messages while stopped at a red light or stop sign, while more than a quarter said they have sent texts while driving.

More than a quarter of the texting drivers believed they "can easily do several things at once, even while driving."

The telephone survey of 1,004 US adults was released today by AT&T Inc as part of an anti-texting-and-driving campaign.

AT&T designed the survey with David Greenfield, founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction and a professor at the University of Connecticut's School of Medicine.

The survey came as AT&T expanded availability of a free app that silences text message alerts and activates automatically when a person is moving 24 kilometres per hour or faster.

The DriveMode app is coming to iPhones after being previously available on Android and BlackBerry phones for AT&T users only. The iPhone version will be available to customers of competing carriers as well, but some functions will work only on AT&T devices.

The study in May was of cellphone owners ages 16 to 65 who drive almost every day and text at least once a day. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. Researchers conducted surveys with people on their cellphones, and it's possible those who would have picked up on a landline might have different attitudes.

Greenfield said the survey is the latest to show a discrepancy between people's attitudes and behaviors.

It found a broad range of reasons why drivers text. Forty-three per cent of the texting drivers said they want to "stay connected" to friends, family and work. Nearly a third did it out of habit.

Among other reasons for texting and driving:

Twenty-eight per cent said they are worried about missing out of something important if they don't check their phones right away.

More than a quarter believes that their driving performance is not affected by texting, and just as many people said they believe that others expect them to respond to texts "right away."

Just 6 per cent answered that they are "addicted to texting," although 14 per cent admitted that they are "anxious" if they don't respond to a text right away, and 17 percent feel "a sense of satisfaction" when they can read or respond to a text message.