Survey: People talking, texting less while driving

Posted May 27, 2010 at 9:37 a.m.

Texting-Driving-Web.jpgA motorist drives while speaking on a cell phone in Boston on March 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

By Sandra M. Jones | U.S. drivers say they are talking and texting less while driving then
they did a year ago as they become more aware of the risks, according to
a new survey.

Four out of 10 drivers who admit to texting behind the wheel say they do
it less often than they did last year, according to the annual “Driving
While Distracted” survey from Nationwide Insurance.

The survey found that 20 percent of drivers with cell phones say they
text while driving. Among drivers under age 35, that number jumps to 47

“This is the first survey we’ve seen showing drivers making positive changes in their behavior, but there are still too many drivers who either don’t realize just how dangerous distractions behind the wheel are, or are willing to take that risk,” said Bill Windsor, associate vice president of consumer safety at Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide. “The stigma now associated with distracted driving may also have fewer people willing to admit they do it.”

Meanwhile, 67 percent of drivers admit to talking on their cell phone while driving. Of those who do, 30 percent say they do it less often than they did last year.

The results are based on a telephone survey of 1,005 U.S. adults conducted by Harris Interactive from April 20 to April 27.

Nationwide’s first “Driving While Distracted” survey was conducted in 2007. It found that 73 percent of drivers said they talked on a cell phone while driving, and 19 percent admitted to texting while driving.

Studies indicate that distracted driving causes one out of every four U.S. crashes, the insurance firm said.



  1. Sam May 27, 2010 at 10:27 a.m.

    This article fails to point out that in Illinois, staring August 6, 2009, it’s illegal to text while driving. A violation will result in a $75 fine. This might contribute to the decrease in texting while driving.

  2. Mrs Ben Linus May 27, 2010 at 10:53 a.m.

    Glad to hear it. I wonder if “Oprah’s Challenge” had anything to do with it as well.
    Sam, you’re right about the law.

  3. Phil May 27, 2010 at 11:02 a.m.

    I’ve been out on the roads…they’re lying.

  4. Klimpy May 27, 2010 at 11:45 a.m.

    I refuse to even talk on my phone while driving. Not only is it illegal in the city of Chicago, it’s incredibly dangerous, and should be illegal everywhere.
    If it’s really that important to talk, I find somewhere to pull over. If you can’t admit that talking on your phone distracts you from driving, you don’t need to be on the roads at all.
    This society has become waaaay too dependent on their phones. Nobody is that important that they need to be constantly talking on their phone. We need harsher punishment for violators of the cell phone while driving law. I still see way too many people on them in the city.

  5. Case Dismissed May 27, 2010 at 11:52 a.m.

    Klimpy – take the keys out of the ignition too….while I was waiting to contest my cell-phone/driving ticket, a young gentlemen was pleading his case – he was parked in front of his house and received a ticket….

  6. ron May 27, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Oprahs challenge? Have no clue but Im assuming the world stopped when she talked.

  7. Sean J May 27, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    LIES!! ALL OF THEM, JUST LIES!!! lol, the sad part is, the majority of people I see talking/texting these days (while holding a handset, that’s the key, since you can still talk with a headset) are 40’s, 50’s age group. Of course, the 16-20 group will always be in this one, but the 20-40 group seems to have taken the warnings the most serious. Hmmm, chalk one up for my generation!

  8. Susie May 27, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    This article lies! I’m waiting for CTA buses at lights every day, and count 3 to 5 drivers on cell phones for every stoplight I wait for the bus. That’s no change from before. Those blue light cameras need to ticket people on cell phones.

  9. The Truth May 27, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I know that many Americans are really rather stupid individuals, but this really proves just HOW DUMB the average American is that they needed to “realize the effects” of distracted driving to change their habits. I mean really…all you have to do is see what pathetic nonsense passes for political debate to see just how simple-minded many Americans are, but even the basest animals have a sense of self-preservation.
    As for those dolts still yapping on their phones, I guess those are the dumbest of the dumb, a REAL SPECIAL kind of stupid, those lacking even the most basic instincts.
    I also can’t believe all the low-rent losers in their leased BMW 3-series and Mercedes C-class cars who apparently can’t afford a $25 BlueTooth. Do you really think you’re fooling anyone driving your base German luxury car, holding a phone to your ear? I point a middle finger in your general direction.

  10. ER May 27, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Well, two of Sean’s texting generation have plowed into the back of my car just this year, one collision occuring on the highway. That’s right, texting while driving on the highway.

  11. dusty May 27, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Not the ones I see every day on the expressway. At least 1 in every 4 cars has someone yakking away or texting on their cellphones. What is so freakin important that you have to risk your life and the lives of everyone else?

  12. Cynic May 27, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    People are saying that they talk and text less while driving. Yet, what they say and do probably do not jibe. People grossly underestimate their use in a car. They simply do not remember how much they actually talk/text. I wonder how many completed this survey while driving!

  13. Jane May 27, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I will state the obvious here. First of all, nothing is ‘that important’ – people are talking on their phone just to pass the time while they drive. We spend more time in our cars than ever before. I don’t personally know anybody who ever claimed they were talking on their cell because it was ‘important.’ Secondly, it’s an unenforceable law. LOVE the people pointing out it’s illegal in the city of Chicago. Right, and we never see anyone within the city limits on their cell phone.HA! Like there could EVER be enough Police to pull people over all the people who are talking on their cell phone. And a $75 fine for texting while driving??? That’s laughable. I am NOT saying people should text and drive. But the only time people are going to get that fine is after they cause an accident. How else could it be done?
    A crying baby in a car seat in the back seat of a car is also an extreme distraction to the driver. Yet I see people all the time half way turned around in the seat, trying to retrieve the dropped bottle, toy, pacifier. Let’s pass a law against that too!

  14. dude May 27, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    the law needs to (and could easily) be enforced through more bicycle police. as a cyclist myself it’s terrifying to see so many people texting and driving. even scarier is being a virtually invisible road user around so many reckless drivers. bicycle police could easily use this as an advantage and issue tickets to unaware drivers stopped at lights. a quick tap on the window and here’s your ticket.

  15. Augustus Daller June 17, 2010 at 11:46 a.m.

    Keep up the good work buddy!