August 3, 2009

Distracted Drivers

58%

About six-in-ten Americans report talking on a handheld phone while driving, a practice that some states have outlawed due to safety concerns.

A recent government report drew attention to the dangers of driving while talking on a cell phone — an activity that a 2006 Pew Research survey found is practiced by about six-in-ten Americans. Indeed, as they spend more and more time in their cars, Americans report that they do an impressive — perhaps scary — range of activities while driving. The most ubiquitous, singing out loud while behind the wheel — an activity indulged in by nearly seven-in-ten drivers (68%) — will probably not strike many as cause for much concern. But about six-in-ten (58%) report talking on a handheld phone while driving, a practice that some states have outlawed because of safety concerns. Roughly four-in-ten (41%) say they have eaten a meal while driving and nearly as many (38%) report having shouted or cursed at other drivers in the past year. Other behaviors are less common — 16% of drivers have done some personal grooming while driving, 6% have combined reading and driving and 6% have fallen asleep behind the wheel in the past year. Read More