With the rise in popularity of smart phones, distracted driving has increasingly become a public safety issue. A common perception of teenagers is that they are glued to their cell phones, constantly sending text messages – even while driving. However, a survey released in March 2013 by AT&T revealed that adult drivers are worse about texting and driving than teenagers are.

Texting while driving more prevalent

Researchers interviewed 1,011 drivers aged 18 years and older who also owned cell phones about their cell phone use habits while driving. Researchers found that even though 98 percent of the respondents said they knew that sending text messages while driving was dangerous, 49 percent of the respondents admitted that they text while driving. Results of a 2012 AT&T survey of 1,200 drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 years old showed that about 43 percent of teens said they send text messages while driving – meaning that adults are less responsible than teenagers when it comes to texting and driving.

Sending text messages while driving is becoming more common, according to survey respondents. Of those who admitted to texting while driving, 60 percent said that they did not do so three years ago. Survey respondents gave a variety of reasons for texting while driving: 43 percent said it was a habit, 22 percent said it they like to stay connected and 18 percent said they believed it made them more productive.

Dangers of texting and driving

Research supports the idea that distracted driving is dangerous, and that texting while driving is one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,331 people died in motor vehicle accidents attributable to distracted driving in 2011. That figure is an increase over the 3,267 distracted driving accident fatalities in 2010.

The NHTSA does not track auto accidents specifically caused by texting, but researchers at Monash University found that drivers who use hand-held devices while driving are four times more likely to get into auto accidents serious enough to cause injuries. Similarly, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute research revealed that drivers who send text messages while driving are 23 more times likely to crash their vehicles than drivers who do not text and drive.

Speak with an attorney

While most drivers know that texting and driving is unsafe, a surprising number continue to do it anyway. In so doing, they put others on the road at risk for auto accidents. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident with a distracted driver, talk to a car accident lawyer who can help you recover just and proper compensation.