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Mónica Guzmán

Stories at the intersection of tech and life from a boldly connected city.

March 29, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Way to set an example: 98 percent of adults know texting is wrong but half do it anyway

Screen Shot 2013-03-29 at 2.48.30 PMI’ve been waiting for a survey to show what I think we all suspect: We know texting and driving is unsafe, and we’re doing it anyway.

The survey was conducted by AT&T late last year and released this week. Among its findings: 98 percent of adults know texting while driving is wrong, but about half admit they do it. AT&T has been pushing the issue for a while now, encouraging customers to pledge never to text and drive. Last summer, the company brought a texting-while-driving simulator to Garfield High School presumably because the problem is perceived to be bigger, or at least more critical, with teens.

But it might not be. In the same recent AT&T survey, only 43 percent of teens — commuters 18 and 19, in this case — admitted to texting while driving, compared with 49 percent of adults.

Either grown-ups are more honest or less rational. Take your pick.

Either way, we’re setting a lousy example.

And get this: According to an earlier AT&T survey, 77 percent of teens say their parents tell them not to text while driving, but do it themselves “all the time.”

Forty-nine percent is “all the time” in teen speak.

Six out of 10 adults say they never texted while driving just three years ago. So you know what we need now: a look at accident rates over that same period. If any increase can be tied to texting while driving, it might knock some sense into us.

Or not. A 2009 study suggested that texting while driving could increase the risk of getting into a collision as much as 23 percent.

If knowing that won’t stop us, who knows what will.

Seen a story that caught your eye re: digital life? Email me at mguzman@seattletimes.com or reach me on Twitter or Facebook.

0 Comments | More in Habits, Mobile, transportation | Topics: driving, mobile, texting

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