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Adults as likely to text while driving as teens

Washington: Nearly half of American adults are just as likely as teenagers to text while driving, even in the midst of heavy traffic, according to a new study on the dangerous habit.

The report found nearly half -- or 47 per cent – of adult texters say they have sent or received text messages from mobile phones while driving.

Of all adults, including those who do not text, 27 per cent said that they had sent text messages from behind the wheel, according to the report titled "Adults and Cell Phone
Distractions" by the Pew Research Center`s Internet and American Life Project.

About the same amount of all driving-age teens -- 26 per cent -- said they had done so, CNN quoted the report as saying.

"It is just as hard for adults as it for teenagers to resist chatting with friends and sending off that quick text even in the midst of heavy traffic," Lee Rainie, director of Pew`s Internet & American Life Project, said in a statement.

The new information might come as a surprise to adults, especially parents who are concerned about their kids texting while driving.

"Adults may be the ones sounding the alarm on the dangers of distracted driving, but they don`t always set the best example themselves," Mary Madden, a senior research specialist at Pew, said.

The teens surveyed were not embarrassed to say they had texted while driving. "We found that in our focus groups they were comfortable discussing it either way," she said.

There has been growing concern regarding the dangers of texting and talking on the phone while driving.

In 2008, about 6,000 American drivers died in car accidents that involved distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The youngest generation of adults -- those 18 to 34 -- are more likely than any other age group to report texting while driving, the Pew survey says.

"While 59 per cent of texting Millennials say they have sent or read text messages at the wheel, 50 per cent of text- using Gen Xers [ages 34 to 45] and 29 per cent of texting Baby Boomers [ages 46-64] report the same," the study says.

Adults are not off the hook when it comes to talking while driving, either.

Adults were "substantially more likely than teens to have talked on their cell phones while driving," the Pew report found, with three-quarters of cell-phone-owning adults saying they have had conversations on the phone while driving.

Meanwhile, about half -- or 52 per cent -- of cell- owning teens reported the same in 2009. The Pew report counts driving teens as those ages 16 and 17.

PTI

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