Drivers Think Distracted Driving Is Causing More Accidents than Driving Drunk, but a Surprising Number Claim to Be Good at It

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Drivers under 35 are ten times more likely than drivers 55 and older to think they can safely text and drive.

PR Newswire

CLEVELAND, Sept. 6, 2017

A new Progressive Insurance study shows about one third of drivers feel confident in their own ability to text and drive, yet the majority believe distracted driving is the biggest cause of auto accidents and more than 90% say it should be illegal.

The starkest difference in attitudes is between younger and older drivers. More than 60% of 18-34 year olds are confident in their ability to safely text while driving compared to less than six percent of individuals 55 and older.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes (

Here are a few key findings from the study:

Young vs. Old

  • 62% of 18-34 year olds are very or somewhat confident in their ability to text while driving, while only six percent of individuals 55 and older felt the same confidence.
  • Yet, 64% of 18-34 year olds think texting or looking at a phone while driving is the most common cause of accidents.

Men vs. Women

  • Twice as many men (21%) as women (11%) are “very confident” in their ability to text while driving.
  • Despite that confidence, 88% of men and 97% of women think texting should not be allowed.

Among All Drivers

  • More than 65% of individuals polled believe that texting/looking at one’s phone while driving is the most common cause of traffic accidents in the US. And, 83% of individuals believe police should be able to pull over drivers for texting alone. At the same time, 34% of respondents said they were somewhat or very confident in their ability to text while driving.
  • Individuals are most likely to think it is okay to engage with the following activities on their phone while driving: listening to music (43%), use a map (30%) and make a call (25%). This also corresponds with ways they interact with their phone when behind the wheel: use a map app at a stoplight (37%); use a map app while driving (35%); look at an app at a stoplight (22%); look at an app when stopped in traffic (21%); and use a virtual assistant (like Siri) to search for a contact to make a call (19%).
  • The most common feelings evoked when seeing another driver texting is concern (62%), followed by irritation (50%). These top two feelings didn’t vary by age or gender.