Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Survey Finds People Text and Drive Knowing Dangers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Survey Finds People Text and Drive Knowing Dangers

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO * Nearly everyone agrees that texting and driving is dangerous. Many people do it anyway.

In an AT&T-sponsored survey of frequent drivers who text daily regardless of where they are 98 percent said they were aware of the dangers of texting behind the wheel. Nonetheless, three-quarters of them admitted to texting while driving, despite broad public- service campaigns and laws against it in some states.

Two-thirds said they have read text messages while stopped at a red light or stop sign, while more than a quarter said they have sent texts while driving. More than a quarter of those who texted while driving believed they "can easily do several things at once, even while driving."

AT&T released the survey Wednesday as part of a campaign against texting and driving. AT&T designed the survey with David Greenfield, founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction.

The survey came as AT&T expanded the availability of a free app that silences text message alerts and activates automatically when a person is moving 15 miles per hour or faster. (Passengers can turn it off.) The DriveMode app is coming to iPhones after being previously available on Android and BlackBerry phones for AT&T users only. The iPhone version will be available to customers of competing carriers as well, but some functions will work only on AT&T devices.

The study in May was of cellphone owners ages 16 to 65 who drive almost every day and text at least once a day. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Greenfield said the survey of 1,004 people is the latest to show a discrepancy between people's attitudes and behaviors.

It found a broad range of reasons why drivers text. Forty-three percent of the texting drivers said they want to "stay connected" to friends, family and work. Nearly a third did it out of habit.

Among other reasons for texting and driving:

* Twenty-eight percent said they are worried about missing out of something important if they don't check their phones right away.

* More than a quarter believe that their driving performance is not affected by texting, and just as many people said they believe that others expect them to respond to texts "right away. …

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