Today we released results from our third annual Vlingo ‘Texting While Driving’ in America Report. The survey examined over 4800 consumer text messaging statistics, including: how and when consumers use text messaging, what is preventing more consumer usage, attitudes and behaviors related to texting while driving (TWD).

As of September 2010, 30 states and the District of Columbia have banned text messaging for all drivers—including Massachusetts where a ban on TWD goes into effect today—and an additional eight states prohibit text messaging by novice drivers. However, even with laws in place, drivers are still texting while driving (TWD).  Take a look at some findings from our report.

The study found that while more state laws exist today to ban texting while driving, 35% of mobile phone users continue to text behind the wheel. The study also found that young adults aged 20 to 29 years old had the highest percentage (62%) of offenders admitting to texting while driving.  They ranked higher than teenagers aged 16-19 years old (53%), while 50-59 year olds ranked only 17%.  The worst offenders came from Idaho (45% admitting to texting while driving), Kentucky (44%), and Missouri (43%), while New Mexico and Alabama had the next best records with only 22% and 23%, respectively.

The study found that drivers know about safety issues surrounding distracted driving, are interested in curving those habits and are open to technologies that could help them drive safely.  Highlights of the data include:

  • 91% of drivers feel that they are more likely to get into an accident while reading or typing a text message.
  • 90% feel that reading or typing a text message is just as unsafe as not wearing a seatbelt.
  • 44% have been passengers in a vehicle where the driver was reading or typing a text message and 76% of those passengers felt unsafe.
  • 80% are trying to limit the frequency in which they read or type text messages while driving.
  • When asked if drivers would feel safer if they had the ability to speak text messages into their phones without taking their eyes off the road, 67% said yes, 22% said maybe, while 11% said no.

We asked Vlingo’s president & CEO to comment on the findings:

“We’ve conducted this survey three years in a row and each year despite the growing awareness of distracted driving, people continue to endanger themselves and their passengers by typing and reading messages behind the wheel.” said Dave Grannan, president and CEO of Vlingo. “It is clear from our survey and a recent report published  by the Highway Loss Data Institute; Texting Laws and Collision Claim Frequencies, that banning texting while driving does not automatically make roads safer; we’re also going to need a technology solution, which is where Vlingo is focused.”

“It’s clear that consumers are still tempted to reach for their cell phone when text messages come through while they are driving,” continued Grannan.  “The good news is today’s technology has advanced to the point where those incoming messages can be automatically read out loud when they arrive and drivers can simply speak to respond to urgent messages while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road—and Vlingo will be making this technology available in the next few weeks for free for certain mobile phones. “

  • Grace.

    I’m doing an informal presentaion on TWD and this is the latest news i have found so far, but i need numbers statistics that are reliable. Great article and surveys though. I totalled my first car when i was 17 due to my stupidity. I was TWD and it’s one of the biggest regrets of my life. I could have killed someone! I would rather have been killed than me causing anyone else to die. but thank god! noone was hurt or even injured. It was still beyond stupid though! I hope texting drivers smarten up!