We all do plenty of things we know we shouldn't do. (Double scoop of ice cream? Soaking in the summer sun? Watching “Jersey Shore”?) Though self-indulgence is one thing, it's unlikely anyone would want to get into a car accident caused by talking on a cellphone. Unfortunately, even though 91% of motorists know it’s unsafe to use a handheld cellphone while driving, nearly 60% of motorists still do it anyway, according to a new study from Harris Interactive, a market research company.
The good news is the number of motorists using cellphones while driving has dropped from 72% to 60%, according to Harris. Nearly 72% of 18- to 34-year-olds said they call and drive sometimes, while only 32% of people older than 66 said they did. Very few respondents said they used their cellphones while driving all the time.While recent studies have shed doubt on the safety benefits of hands-free calling, nearly 77% of respondents think hands-free is safer than holding a cellphone. About 40% of respondents use hands-free calling devices now, up from 28% in 2006.
Twenty-seven percent of motorists say they also text while driving, which many studies suggest is much more distracting than talking on a cellphone. Many states ban texting and driving, though the effectiveness of those laws has been called into question.
There is only mixed evidence as to whether texting or talking on a cellphone is any more distracting than having a conversation with passengers, adjusting the radio or having a blood-alcohol level of 0.08; the Governors Highway Safety Association claims that nearly 25% of all U.S. car crashes can be attributed to cellphone usage. However, from 2006 to 2009, the total number of car accidents in the U.S. declined from nearly 6 million to 5.5 million, while adoption of cellphones rose to nearly two-thirds of the population.
No Talking While Driving (Media Post)