Texting drivers feel unsafe, but still do it

AAA study finds that motorists feel less safe than they did years ago, due to the growth of text messaging while driving.

The majority of motorists on U.S. roads feel less safe than they did five years ago, according to a new study from AAA.

AAA reported in its "2010 Traffic Safety Culture Index" that 52 percent of motorists feel unsafe while driving. A whopping 88 percent said that text messaging or responding to e-mails is a "very serious threat to their safety." AAA said 62 percent of respondents consider talking on a mobile phone a serious threat to safety.

The problem is AAA found that those who fear for their safety are engaging in the very same activities that are potentially putting them and others at risk. In fact, 70 percent of respondents said that they talk on their mobile phones while driving. Another 24 percent of people said that they "read or sent text messages or e-mails while driving in the previous month."

However, the organization found that 80 percent of people would support a law banning text messaging and answering e-mail while driving. About 66 percent of people said that "they would lose some respect for a friend" who was text messaging or e-mailing while driving.

Communicating while driving--especially text messaging--has been a major issue on roadways over the past few years. A dozen states have banned texting while driving since last year, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's second national Distracted Driving Summit will be held tomorrow in Washington, D.C. to discuss how states can handle the potential effects that distractions, including text messaging and talking on phones, have on drivers.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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