Distracted driving continues despite attitudes against it

A new survey finds that many drivers don't practice what they preach when it comes to distracted driving. California drivers may be interested in the results, which indicate that many people who say using cellphones while driving is a bad idea continue to do it anyway.

The survey was conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which released the results on March 29. The 2,613 respondents were drivers age 16 or older who reported that they had driven with the previous 30 days.

Data taken from a sample of the respondents shows that almost half admitted to talking on a hand-held phone while driving; only slightly less, nearly 45 percent, said they used a device to read a message. Sending text or email messages while driving was not quite as common, but 35 percent of respondents said they did it.

Despite nearly half of the drivers admitting to using a phone while driving, more than half stated that it's a dangerous thing to do. Talking on the phone while at the wheel was frowned upon by 58 percent of the respondents, and using a phone for texting or email was seen as a serious danger by 78 percent of the drivers. However, when it comes to laws banning the use of cellphones, only 40 percent said they believe in a complete ban of cellphone use while driving.

About half of the survey respondents said that they regularly see other drivers texting while driving, but the federal government has reported a decrease in distracted driving accidents in the past year. The AAA Foundation said that could be because it is not always known when distracted driving caused an accident and noted that distracted driving is an under-reported safety violation.

Distracted driving as the cause of a auto accident might not be detected unless the distracted driver admits to using a device while driving. An attorney may be able to arrange interviews with witnesses or examine cellphone records to determine if distracted driving might have caused an injury to someone.

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