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Adults More Likely Than Teens to Text While Driving

A recent survey by the AAA Foundation found that adults are more likely than teens to text while driving. In the survey of drivers, about 45% of those ages 25 to 39 admitted to texting while driving, as opposed to about 31% of teens.

There are three types of distractions that cause car accidents:

  • Manual distractions occur when drivers takes their hands off the wheel.
  • Visual distractions occur when drivers take their eyes off the road.
  • Cognitive distractions occur when drivers takes their mind off the task of driving.

A driver who is texting is distracted in all three ways. Texting while driving makes a driver from 8 to 23 times more likely to be in a traffic accident, according to the National Safety Council. Despite this alarming statistic, more than one in four drivers surveyed by AAA admitted to texting behind the wheel.

The problem has gotten so serious that many states ban texting and driving. Currently, 39 states have laws on the books that make texting while driving illegal. Florida’s law prohibiting drivers from texting while driving went into effect on Oct. 1.

It is estimated that texting while driving causes about 1.6 million accidents every year. About 330,000 people are injured due to texting while driving annually. In 2012, 3,328 people died in distracted driving accidents in the U.S., and texting was a contributor in many of those accidents.

Why Adults Text More

When people think of texting and driving, they often think of teen offenders. While the number of teen texters is significant, texting by adult drivers is equally concerning.

Adults may text or talk on the phone while driving because they feel they need to immediately answer a text from a business associate, boss or client. Since adults have been driving longer, they may have a developed false sense of security that they are capable of multitasking behind the wheel. Some may believe that as long as the text is fast, they will be fine.

Some texters may be sending messages as a result of compulsive behavior. A Baylor University study found that cellphone addiction could be as difficult to kick as drug and alcohol addiction. People who are addicted to something are more likely to engage in risky behavior.

The unfortunate fact is that texting while driving is distracting and dangerous for everyone, regardless of age or driving experience. When it comes to texting and driving, adults need to lead by example. Having a busy life is no excuse for putting other motorists at risk.