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Adults Know Distracted Driving is Dangerous but Still Do It

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A recent Harris Poll shows that adults are still texting and driving, even though they know it’s dangerous.

Over 2,000 people answered questions about their driving behavior between May 27–29, 2014. Though over 90 percent stated they believed sending and reading texts while driving was dangerous or very dangerous, over a third admitted to actually engaging in these activities while behind the wheel.

Other findings regarding drinking and driving, talking on a hand-held cell phone, and doing other distracting things like posting to social media sites were also covered in the poll.

Results of Poll Shows Americans Still Driving Distracted

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that the number of people killed in crashes involving distracted driving was 3,328 in 2012, with over 420,000 injured. They add that doing things like reaching for a phone, dialing, texting, or otherwise using portable devices increases the risk of getting into a crash by three times.

The NHTSA and a number of other concerned organizations have been doing their best to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving. According to the Harris Poll, their efforts are working:

• More than 9 in 10 said sending and reading texts while driving is dangerous or very dangerous.
• Over half said checking texts while stopping at a red light is dangerous.
• Nearly 70 percent said talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving is dangerous.
• Over a third said that even talking on a hands-free cell phone is dangerous.

Yet what people believe and what they do doesn’t always match up. Despite stating that these behaviors are dangerous or very dangerous, a surprising number of Americans admitted to engaging in them anyway. While driving:

• Nearly three-fourths admitted to talking on a cell phone.
• 45 percent said they read texts, while 37 percent admitted to sending texts.
• Over one-third stated they used smartphones and tablets to look things up.
• Nearly one-quarter admitted to posting to social media sites.
• Just over one in four admitted to engaging in personal grooming.
• One-fourth of those between the ages of 18 and 36 admitted to frequently talking on the cell phone, reading text messages, and sending texts.

Riding with Distracted Drivers

It seems that not only are we engaging in distracted driving behaviors ourselves, we’re also very forgiving of others when they do the same. According to the Harris Poll:

• About two-thirds say they’ve been passengers in cars with a driver who is talking on a cell phone.
• Just under half say they ride with a driver who is reading or sending text messages.
• Over a third say they’ve ridden with a driver using a smartphone or tablet to look something up.
• Over a quarter admit to riding with a driver checking or posting to social media sites.

Victims of Distracted Driving May be Eligible to File Personal Injury Lawsuits

Drive Smart Virginia states that eight out of ten crashes in Virginia are related to distracted driving. When distracted driving causes an accident, parties may be held liable for damages. A distracted driver, for example, may have to pay for medical expenses, property damage, income lost during recovery, and pain and suffering of any injured victims.

We hope that with continued efforts to raise awareness, more drivers will choose to keep the phones and tablets off until they reach their destinations.