If you’re stereotyping about teens texting and driving, as an adult you might want to look at yourself first.
According to a new California survey, nearly two-thirds of adults use a cell phone when they’re driving with children in the car, and about one-third text.
The University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine performed an online survey of 715 drivers, aged 30 to 64, in San Diego County revealed that many people either are unaware of the dangers of distracted driving or choose to ignore them.
“Studies have shown that phoning and driving increases the risk of crashes four-fold, with hands-free and handheld devices equally dangerous; this is the same as driving with a blood alcohol content at the legal limit of .08. Texting increases this risk eight to 16 times,” Dr. Linda Hill, a clinical professor in the department of family and preventive medicine at UCSD School of Medicine, said in a university news release.
More than 500 people in the survey said they drive an average of one to two hours a day, 30 percent said they use cell phones for talking, texting and other applications sometimes or often. Fifty-three percent said they rarely do so, and 17 percent said they never do.
Fifty-six percent of respondents reported driving with a handheld phone and 92 percent with a hands-free phone.
The participants with children younger than age 11 in the car, 65 percent have a cell phone and 36 percent text. Of those with children aged 12 to 17 in the car, 63 percent drive with a cell phone and 31 percent text. People with children younger than age 11 in the car were highly more likely to text and to talk on a handheld phone, according to the survey.
There were 31 percent of participants that said they feel obligated to take a work-related call while driving.
There were about 3,300 deaths and 400,000 injuries in the United States in 2011 that occurred because of distracted driving, according to experts in the driving safety program at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine.
“These findings highlight the dangerous behavior of adults driving distracted, especially with children in the car, exposing both themselves and their children to increased risk for a crash,” Hill said.
“Employers should be aware that encouraging workers to initiate and receive calls while driving on the job is putting their employees at risk and exposing their companies to potential liability,” Hill said.
AT&T Inc., based in Dallas, took an adult commuter survey in December and nearly one-half of adult commuters admitted to texting while driving. Of these, 43 percent of them called it a “habit.”
That shows that commuters are texting and driving even more than teens. An April 2012 survey showed that 43 percent of teens are texting and driving. In comparison 49 percent of commuters surveyed said they are texting and driving.
Three years ago, sixty percent of commuters said they never texted while driving.
The online survey had about 1,000 commuters participate. Results of the commuter survey, published March 28, 2013.