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Busted! Adults text-and-drive more than teens

March 29, 2013 at 12:55 PM ET

In a new survey of adult drivers, 49 percent of the group admitted to texting at the wheel.
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In a new survey of adult drivers, 49 percent of the group admitted to texting at the wheel.

Teens' hands may be fused to their phones, but on the road, it's adults who say they text more. Anew survey of driving and texting habits, commissioned by AT&T and conducted by ResearchNow, asked 1,011 adults if they texted or emailed while at the wheel.

Almost every adult surveyed — 98 percent of them — knew texting or emailing while driving was unsafe (though we wonder what that last two percent are thinking). But half of the group (49 percent) said they did it anyway.

Also, 60 percent of the adults said they didn't text and drive three years ago.

In a similar survey from April last year, 43 percent of a 1,200 teens between 15 and 19 said they texted while driving with their licenses or learning permits.


As a member of the National Safety Council pointed out to USA Today, this trend is concerning because there's just plain more adults than teens on the roads: 10 million teen learners, compared 180 million full-grown humans in cars and presumably with phones. The NSC estimates that 100,000 road crashes involve texters at the wheel.

Of course, there is the chance that teens were shyer about sharing their true texting habits. Even so, adults don't seem to be setting the best example.

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about technology and science. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Video: A new survey from AT&T polled more than 1000 adults and found nearly half admitted to texting while driving, a higher number than the teens who admitted to doing the same thing. NBC’s Brian Williams reports.


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