ROCHESTER, N.Y. --(Business Wire)-- A quarter of drivers with cell
phones admit that they send or receive text messages while driving,
according to a poll by Harris Interactive.
Most drivers who own cell phones use them to talk while driving, even
though almost all of them believe it is dangerous to do so, according
to the poll resuilts.
Most drivers with cell phones use hand-held rather than hands-free
phones although they believe that hands-free phones are safer.
Even in states where it is illegal for drivers to use hand-held phones, half of cell phone users do so.
The poll also shows that most drivers who use cell phones believe that
using hands-free phones is safer than using hand-held phones, contrary
to the evidence of available research that suggests that it is the
minds, not the hands, of drivers that are adversely affected by talking
on the phone.
Key findings in this Harris Poll include:
- 72% of those who drive and own cell phones say they use them to talk while they are driving;
- Most of these people (66%) say they usually use hand-held rather than hands-free telephones to talk;
- Even in states that have banned the use of hand-held cell phones
while driving, half (49%) of cell phone users use hand-held, rather
than hands-free, phones;
- Only 2% of those who use cell phones while driving believe this
is not dangerous at all. Most believe it is very dangerous (26%),
dangerous (24%) or somewhat dangerous (33%);
- A 71% majority of those who use cell phones while driving
believes that hands-free cell phones are safer than hand-held phones
(even though some research suggest otherwise);
- Younger drivers are more likely than older drivers to talk on the
phone while driving. Most (58%) "Matures" (people older than Baby
Boomers, currently aged 64 or over) who drive and own cell phones say
they do not use their cell phones while driving; and,
- A quarter of drivers with cell phones report using them to send
or receive text messages while driving, although a large majority (74%)
These findings point to several important conclusions:
These are some of the findings of The Harris Poll No. 58, released June
8, 2009. The nationwide online survey polled 2,681 U.S. adults May 11 -
- Cell phone use by drivers is very widespread and is, therefore, a major health care risk.
- Large numbers of people do not obey state laws that forbid the use of hand-held phones.
- Most people believe, perhaps wrongly, that hands-free cell phone use is safer than using hand-held phones.
- Many millions of drivers send and receive text messages while driving, possibly a greater risk than talking on the phone.
These findings support the views of the National Safety Council that
most drivers ignore the evidence about the risks of using cell phones
and the advice of safety experts.
A 2003 study by the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis estimated that cell
phone use while driving contributed to six percent of crashes, which
equated to 636,000 crashes, 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries
and 2,600 deaths each year. The study also put the annual financial
toll of cell phone-related crashes at $43 billion.
"Studies show that driving while talking is on a cell phone is
extremely dangerous and puts drivers at a four times greater risk of a
crash," said Janet Froetsher, president and CEO of the National Safety
Council. "Drunk driving is also dangerous and against the law. When our
friends have been drinking, we take car keys away. It's time to take
the cell phone away."
The Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States May 11
and 18, 2009, among 2,681 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age,
sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were
weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual
proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used
to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a
long and rich history in multimodal research, powered by our science
and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris
Interactive serves clients globally through our North American,
European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research