Adults more likely then teens to phone and drive

21 Jun 2010

A large percentage of adults (61pc) say they have talked on their mobile phone without a hands-free kit while driving.

The large number of adults that chat on the phone while behind the wheel is in comparison to the 43pc of 16-17-year-olds that admitted to the same transgression, according to a report by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

When it comes to texting, however, 27pc of adults say they have sent or read text messages while driving and this is more or less equal to the percentage of teens (26pc) who have done the same.

One of the interesting results that came out of this survey was the fact that 49pc of adults that responded said they were passengers in a car when the driver was sending or reading text messages on their mobile phone and overall 44pc said that at some point they were a passenger in a car whose driver, they felt, had put them in danger by the way they used their mobile handset.

The survey seems to show that adults are not only more likely than teens to use their phone illegally while driving but also find it more distracting to use a phone in general.

One in six (17pc) of the adult respondents admitted they have been so engrossed in talking on their mobile or sending or receiving a text that they have physically bumped into another object – this is in comparison to 14pc of teens.

Statistics come from the Pew survey carried out across the US from 29 April to 30 May with 2,352 people.

“While previous research has shown that one in four teen drivers text at the wheel, this data suggests that adults are now just as likely to engage in this risky behaviour,” said Mary Madden, senior research specialist at the Internet & American Life Project and co-author of the report.

“Adults may be the ones sounding the alarm on the dangers of distracted driving, but they don’t always set the best example themselves.”