Driven to distraction by cellphones

  • Updated: January 28, 2013 - 8:34 PM

WASHINGTON - Bugged by motorists jabbering away on the phone while driving? Perhaps you should look into the car mirror.

Though most drivers say cellphone-using motorists pose a danger, more than two-thirds admit to having talked on a hand-held or hands-free phone from behind the wheel at least once within the previous month, according to a survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Nearly a third said they had done so regularly.

The survey shows a "do as I say, not as I do" attitude that underscores the need to better educate motorists on the risks of distracted driving, "especially given that most Americans believe this problem is becoming worse," the foundation said.

"Ninety percent of respondents believe that distracted driving is a somewhat or much bigger problem today than it was three years ago, yet they themselves continue to engage in the same activities," said Peter Kissinger, the foundation's president and chief executive.

The survey of 3,896 drivers found that motorists who use phones while driving were more likely to engage in other risky behavior, such as speeding and running red lights.

Younger motorists were the most active on their devices: 61 percent of drivers ages 16 to 24 and 53 percent ages 25 to 39 reported having read a text or e-mail while driving at least once in the prior 30 days. The percentage fell to 10 percent for drivers age 60 through 74.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

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