NHTSA survey reveals perceptions on distracted driving

December 14, 2011

Washington – About 2 out of 10 U.S. drivers said they have sent text messages or emails while driving, while about half of drivers between 21 and 24 years old reported doing the same, according to the results of a new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey (.pdf file).

Researchers asked 6,002 drivers in November and December 2010 about their use of electronic communication devices and perceptions of safety risks associated with the devices. According to the report, more than half of respondents said they believe using a cell phone to talk or send a text message or email does not affect their driving performance; however, nearly 90 percent of respondents said they would feel “very unsafe” if they were traveling with someone who was using a cell phone while driving.

In an agency press release, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said the survey’s results indicate distracted driving remains a “major problem,” and suggested that legislators should focus on “education, laws, enforcement and vehicle design” to address distracted driving.