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Most Drivers Think Texting Should Be Illegal, Yet Still Do It

According to a recent survey, 64 percent of 18- to 34-year-old drivers felt that texting or looking at a phone while driving is probably the most common cause of traffic accidents. Nevertheless, 62 percent of the same group are confident in their ability to text and drive safely.

While young people were most likely to think they could text and drive safely -- even if others couldn't -- it's not just young people. Among drivers of all ages, 90 percent believe that texting while driving should be illegal, and 83 percent felt texting or cellphone use was the most common cause of traffic crashes. Yet 34 percent still felt they were either "very confident" or "somewhat confident" that they could do so safely.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people were killed in accidents involving distracted driving in 2015. Another 391,000 were injured by distracted drivers. What age group was most likely to be identified as the distracted driver? Teenagers.

The survey was performed online by Progressive Insurance. The company surveyed around 1,000 insured drivers in the general insurance market, not necessarily Progressive customers.

"We hope this study starts conversations around distracted driving and how to reduce it. It's especially interesting that most people recognize this activity is dangerous, yet many people feel confident in their own ability to text and drive," said a spokesperson for the company.

It certainly should start some conversations. It's alarming to think that young people are so confident in their texting abilities that they could easily ignore laws prohibiting it while driving. Yet the reality of teens texting behind the wheel has been known for some time. What may be even more alarming is that 34 percent of all drivers consider it reasonably safe.

Here are some other potentially distracting activities that the survey respondents thought were safe, along with the percentages who did:

  • Listening to music (43 percent)
  • Using a map (30 percent)
  • Looking at a map app at a stoplight (37 percent)
  • Using a map app while driving (35 percent)
  • Making a phone call (25 percent)
  • Using a virtual assistant to look up a contact for a phone call (19 percent)

Interestingly, the most common feelings people reported when seeing another person text while driving were concern (62 percent) and irritation (50 percent). Those feelings might also sum up our reaction to the results of this survey.

Don't kid yourself. Texting while driving is dangerous. If you've been injured by a distracted driver, call a personal injury attorney to make sure you understand your rights and options.

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