Cellphones, other distractions remain big problem on roads

A woman looks at her phone as she drives. (Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON – Sometimes, it seems drivers are paying attention to just about everything except the road.

A new survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows cellphone use remains a major problem behind the wheel. More than 40 percent between the ages of 19 and 39 admit they text.

According to the report, across all ages, more than half say they talk while driving.

The table below shows what AAA found.

Age Reported Using Phone Reported Using Phone
  While Driving Fairly Often / Regularly While Driving
16-18 58 percent 20 percent
19-24 72 percent 27 percent
25-39 82 percent 43 percent
40-59 72 percent 30 percent
60-74 51 percent 15 percent
75+ 31 percent 7 percent
Total 67 percent 28 percent

“Using your phone while driving may seem safe, but it roughly quadruples your risk of being in a crash, according to previous research,” said Jake Nelson, AAA director of traffic safety advocacy and research.

“None of us is immune from the dangers of distracted driving. The best advice is to hang up and drive.”

It has been estimated that 660,000 Americans use electronic devices while driving at any moment during daylight hours, according to AAA. Still, most drivers say they are aware of the risks.

Meanwhile, a poll cited in USA TODAY shows additional distractions are causing issues, making roadways more dangerous.

When asked what they were doing when they nearly crashed, many said they were reading a book or newspaper, surfing the Internet or applying makeup.

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