By Andrew Ganz
Tuesday, Apr 2nd, 2013 @ 11:03 am
 
Nearly half of all adults surveyed by AT&T say that they're using their smartphones to send text messages or check their emails while they're behind the wheel of a car, even though almost all of them agree that the practice is unsafe.

A survey conducted by AT&T on its website in December asked 1,011 drivers about texting and driving. Of the adults surveyed, 49 percent admitted that they text and drive and 60 percent said that they didn't tap away at their smartphones while behind the wheel three years ago.

Of the survey's respondents, 98 percent stated that they believed texting while driving is unsafe.

By comparison, about 43 percent of teenagers cited in an earlier USA Today survey admitted that they text and drive. And as National Safety Council representative John Ulczycki pointed out to the newspaper, "[You're] looking at around 10 million teen drivers, but about 180 million other adult drivers."

AT&T's senior vice president of public affairs admitted that she was "surprised" that adults were more likely to admit to texting than teenagers.

"It was sobering to realize that texting while driving adults is not only high, it's really gone up in the last three years," AT&T's Charlene Lake said.

Of the adults surveyed, 43 percent said they text while drive out of habit, while 22 percent said they like to "stay connected" while behind the wheel. About 18 percent said that texting while driving makes them "more productive."

Almost two-thirds of the survey's respondents were female and the bulk were between the ages of 25 and 54.

The AT&T survey's findings nearly mirror those reported by State Farm about six months ago.

Most states ban texting while driving for young drivers and 39 have outlawed texting while driving, but surveys like AT&T's have cast doubts about the effectiveness of such legislation.