Americans still use phones while behind wheel: survey
AFPWASHINGTON -- More than two-thirds of American motorists use a mobile phone while driving despite recent laws in many jurisdictions banning the practice, a survey showed Thursday.
March 16, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
The study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 69 percent of U.S. drivers talked on their cell phone while driving within the 30 days before they were surveyed.
Some 31 percent of drivers also said that they had read or sent text messages or emails while driving.
The CDC study showed U.S. drivers using their devices while driving more than in seven European countries which have full bans in place on mobile device use.
The U.S. figure of 69 percent phone use was higher than the other countries in the study: Portugal (59 percent), the Netherlands (48 percent), Belgium (46 percent), Spain (41 percent), France (40 percent), Germany (39 percent) and Britain (21 percent).
Among those who reported using their phones “regularly” or “often,” the U.S. led with 28 percent of motorists, followed by Portugal and the Netherlands (20 percent), Belgium (16 percent) Spain (13 percent), France (10 percent), Germany (9 percent) and Britain (8 percent), CDC data showed.
The data suggested high levels of “distracted driving” in the United States despite stepped-up law enforcement efforts and safe driver education.
The CDC noted that 33 states and the U.S. capital Washington have laws in place restricting at least some teens or new drivers from using cell phones while driving. But only 10 states plus the capital have full bans on using handheld devices.
“The cell phone can be a fatal distraction for those who use it while they drive,” said CDC director Tom Frieden.
“Driving and dialing or texting don't mix. If you are driving, pull over to a safe place and stop before you use your cell phone.”
According to U.S. government data, 3,331 people were killed in crashes in 2011 involving a distracted driver, compared to 3,267 in 2010.
The National Transportation Safety Board figures showed 18 percent of injury crashes in 2010 involved a distracted driver.