According to a Progressive Insurance study, around one-third of drivers are confident in their own ability to text and drive – even though the majority believe that distracted driving is the biggest cause of vehicle accidents and more than 90 percent said it should be illegal.
The starkest difference in attitudes is between younger and older drivers. More than 60 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds said they’re confident in their ability to safely text while driving, compared to fewer than 6 percent of individuals 55 and older.
In 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes.
“We hope this study starts conversations around distracted driving and how to reduce it,” said David Pratt, business leader of usage-based insurance at Progressive. “It’s especially interesting that most people recognize this activity is dangerous, yet many people feel confident in their own ability to text and drive.”
Among other highlights from the study:
- Despite expressing confidence in their texting-and-driving abilities, 64 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds said they believe that texting or looking at a phone while driving is the most common cause of accidents.
- Twice as many men (21 percent) as women (11 percent) are “very confident” in their ability to text while driving.
- Despite that confidence, 88 percent of men and 97 percent of women think texting should not be allowed.
- More than 65 percent of individuals polled believe that texting/looking at one’s phone while driving is the most common cause of traffic accidents in the United States. And 83 percent of individuals believe police should be able to pull over drivers for texting alone.
- At the same time, 34 percent of respondents said they were somewhat or very confident in their ability to text while driving.
- The most common feelings evoked when seeing another driver texting is concern (62 percent) followed by irritation (50 percent). These top two feelings didn’t vary by age or gender.
Approximately 1,000 individuals 18 years of age or older responded to the national online survey.