A recent survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded that adults report texting and driving more often than teenagers do, a finding that flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Although AAA found that many novice drivers report texting behind the wheel, adult drivers are more likely to admit that they engage in this dangerously distracting practice.
The age group that is most likely to text and drive are adults between 25 and 39 years old. Among those surveyed in this age group, 45% admitted to texting or emailing on the road in the past month, compared to 31% of teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 18.
A 2012 AT&T survey also found that experienced adult drivers are more likely to text and drive, according to CNN. In the AT&T study, 49% of adults admitted to texting or emailing while driving at least once in the past, while 43% of teens confessed to doing so.
Adults might be more likely to text and drive because once they have done so without incident, they may continue to so, at least every now and then.
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that teen drivers start out focused on driving. As they gain more confidence in their driving ability, they begin trying to perform secondary tasks such as talking on the phone. The study also found that inexperienced drivers are more easily distracted than their older counterparts and are at high risk for car accidents. Novice drivers may be less aware of road hazards and have less understanding of their own limitations.
It is clear that distracted driving remains a major problem. Roughly a quarter of all the AAA survey respondents indicated they had sent an email or text from behind the wheel in the previous month, even though almost all of them consider texting drivers to be a serious threat to their own safety.
Furthermore, drivers over age 60 were far less likely than any other group to text and drive, meaning that a significant portion of the texting drivers are younger drivers or teens. No matter how seasoned a driver is, texting and driving is dangerous. On average, texting takes a driver’s eyes off the road for five seconds, according to one report, time enough for an accident to occur.